tv U.S. Senate CSPAN July 26, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask the call of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations which the clerk will report. the clerk: nominations, the judiciary, paul engelmayer of new york to be united states district judge. ramona villagomez manglona of the northern mariana islands to be judge of the district court. the presiding officer: there will be two minutes of debate equally divided. mr. grassley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i don't intend to use the one minute because i spoke yesterday on this
nomination, but i urge my colleagues to support the nomination of paul a. engelmayer to be district judge. he's very well qualified, so i would encourage a yes vote. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. durbin: i yield back our time on this side. mr. grassley: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
judge, the votes are 98 aye, 0 nay, the nomination is confirmed. the question is now on the nomination of ramona manglona to the judge for the district court of the northern mariana islands. all those in favor please signify by saying aye. those opposed? the ayes appear to have it, the ayes do have it,, the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, motions to railroad are reconsie considered made and laid on the table, the president shall be immediately notified of the senate's action, the senate will resume legislative session. under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m. today.
live coverage when the senate returns here on c-span2. senators reid, senator reed reid's debt reduction plan raises the debt limit through next year's elections and requires spending cuts without revenue increases. it does not include tax or revenue increases. work on the measure is likely to take much of the week. once senators return from their break they will get to work on that. the house republican plan by speaker boehner cut best less spending than the senate plan. requires another debt reduction vote in six months. if e it caps future spending and requires congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. we expect white house reaction at the daily briefing shortly. and we'll have live coverage. >> if you want to be informed what is happening in the world, particularly in american politics and
particularly in the congress, it is not so hard. c-span has a digital on-line archive that goes back to '79 or 1987? 198. where you can basically watch, anything that happens in the house or senate chambers right there on your screen. there are sources of information that were unimaginable 20 years ago >> and now to today's white house press briefing. here is spokesman's jay carney. this started about two minutes ago. >> the first lady and dr. biden asks the president and vice president to deliver their own handwritten condolence,
condolence letters, rather to the embassy. i want to mention obviously we all watched the president last night. he spoke to the nation. about the debate we're having in washington over the need to raise the debt ceiling to make sure america honors its obligations and the need to reduce our deficit in a balanced way. he believes that the american people overwhelmingly, no matter their political affiliation, or whether or not they're even affiliated with a party, believes that washington should come together. that washington should compromise and that a balanced approach, deficit reduction, is the right approach. he called on americans to, who feel that way to make their feelings known to the congress and, while there is nothing scientific about it, there is certainly anecdotal evidence that many americans are doing just that. so, we are, welcome that obviously. and with that i will take your questions.
mr. feller. >> thanks, jay. could you be as specific as you can whether august 2nd is in fact the drop dead deadline for default? or whether there is some wiggle room the government has to carry forward in the coming days? >> ben a good question. as you know, the united states hit its debt limit in may. and since may the treasury secretary, using authority that he has, and doing what previous secretaries of the treasury have been able to do, has exercised all the wiggle room available to him. and that runs out on august 2nd. that's not a guess. it is not a political opinion. it is the judgement of career analysts at the treasury department i don't understand that date, we lose our capacity to borrow. we give up our borrowing authority without action by congress. and the result of that risks default for the united
states for the first time in our history. as we face the reality that we take in only 60 cents for every dollar we owe. that is not a situation we believe will happen and it is certainly a situation that should not happen. >> the president said last friday that he was already talking to secretary geithner in terms of the consequences if there's default. you just reiterated you don't think it will come to that, in a sense of prudence is the government in fact already gameplanning what would happen if a default happens, communicating that to other leaders, to the states and are you willing to share that with the american people? >> as you heard the treasury secretary say, every president, every treasury secretary, republicans and democrats, taken a hard look at this issue and reached the same conclusion. this goes to your question about august 2nd. that, you know, there are no more measures that can be
taken. of course the treasury is having discussions with omb, with the fed, to work through how we would manage this impossible situation, this impossible position but it is important to state again, that we do not believe we will get there. we think, we take the leaders of congress at their word, that they agree with the president. that it is unthinkable and unacceptable for the united states to, for the first time in its history, to default on its obligations and action will be taken by congress to insure that does not happen. time is running out. so while we remain confident, we are also, we also understand some of the anxiety out there because we are pushing this to the last minute and that should not be the case. but in the end we believe congress will act appropriately. >> i've got one more please. there have been many times when bills have been proposed and the white house has said should that legislation get to the president's desk. he would veto it even before it moves through congress.
if speaker boehner's bill, the republican bill, made it to his desk, would the president veto it? >> as you know the white house chief of staff addressed that explicitly on sunday. >> that was before the boehner bill was unveiled. so it wasn't directly -- >> i'm not, that position hasn't changed. it is however moot because as the president made clear last night, we're in a stalemate. the speaker's proposal can not pass the senate, will not pass the senate, will not reach the president's desk. this is the problem we have. we need congress to produce something, that is a compromise and therefore can get support from democrats and republicans in both houses, and reach the president's desk, and, meet the president's approval. that's why we need compromise. and the president, you know, spoke in detail about why compromise is essential and why there is an ad mirable and long history of
republicans and democrats with strong disagreements and differences of opinion and idealogical differences in the past coming together and finding compromise on tough issues. president reagan did it with democratic speaker tip o'neill. president clinton did it with republican speaker newt gingrich. this president did it with republican leaders in december. it can be done again and it must be. i would note that the speaker of the house in his address last night, that followed the president, never mentioned the word compromise, yet that is the only alternative. we have a different guided government. we have a two-party system. no party controls every branch of government. compromise is the only option. and we will hopefully get there. >> no chance it passes the senate? no chance? >> we do not believe it will pass the senate. senator reid said today on the floor it will not pass the senate. he is a the majority leader. has a pretty good feel for the place. we certainly strongly feel
it is not a bipartisan compromise measure, and it is not, it in many ways a back doorway to get cut, cap, and balance or the ryan budget, things that they couldn't get through the front door, and make law because the american people don't support it, in through the back door and that is just not acceptable. now is the time to compromise. it is for democrats to give. for republicans to give. to reach a solution that is not ideal for anyone, except for the country. not ideal for a political party but the right thing for the country. the president has demonstrated his willingness to do that repeatedly in public and in private. he has got skin in the game. he made clear he will make compromises. he came this close in negotiations with the speaker of the house, in great detail, making clear the kinds of decisions he would make that are tough and kinds of decisions that he would endeavor to persuade democrats to accept. in order to reach a
compromise, because he believes it's the right thing to do. yes? >> jay, some conservative republicans are expressing skepticism even the becamer plan could pass the house. if that will have difficulty, how could the reid plan pass the house and what is the path forward? >> i, i have my reporter cleats when i used to be cover republicans on the hill. i have a better feel for what could and couldn't pass the house. i leave that for others to judge. the plan put forward by the majority leader in the senate, senator reid is a much better option. it rip centcom promize. others have pointed out it doesn't include revenues in it explicitly except for tasking a committee to entitlement reform and tax reform. it has substantial, considerable, deep, spending cuts. it addresses the absolute
need to lift the cloud over our economy that the uncertainty about whether or not we will he default has created. it is a, it is a legitimate compromise measure. we believe that it could pass the senate and the house if folks gave it a fair shake and we appreciate senator reid putting it forward. >> there are some lawmakers, pat toomey and others saying the calm in the markets so far indicate that there isn't a crisis in the same way that the administration says it is. what is your answer to that? >> i would simply point to the a abundance of experts, nonpolitical experts who have made clear that the prospect of the united states losing its borrowing authority and risking default is horrible to
consider, cataclysmic potentially to our economy and the global economy. i've done it enough times that i won't do it again but i could read to you from letters written by president reagan saying just that. by then treasury secretary jim baker saying just that. republicans of all kind saying just that in current, in the present day. it is simply wrong and, to risk that is to make a terrible mistake and to play chicken with our economy. the fact that there remains confidence in the world that washington will at the last hour get its act together to do the right thing is a good thing because we always have and we believe we will. but it is whistling past the graveyard to suggest that this is some sort of game and we're not serious and that the risks aren't enormous because they are.
yes. >> the reid bill which the president would not consider to be a balanced approach, appears not to have enough votes to sustain a filibuster by the republicans, republican leadership says that they don't think the reid bill can pass. if the boehner bill is only bill that passes, why would the president not at least try to embrace a way to avoid default? >> the boehner bill can't pass the senate, jay. if you're saying that the reid bill could get a majority in the senate but not clear the filibuster, i mean, all that, right, but all that says to me and to the president is that we have a find a compromise. we have to set aside and, we believe this is important for the republicans to do because they keep putting forward measures that don't represent compromise, that don't give on their issues. as they say, are just new versions of the same things they have been trying to do
that we need to stop that and we need to work together to do something that allows us to extend our borrowing capacity, and addresses our deficits. and creates the opportunity or the condition to further address the hard issues of entitlement reform and tax reform. >> right. but -- >> you're asking if neither of these things passes what happens? >> no, i'm not asking that. >> okay. >> if one of them is capable of passing a body of congress and the other one can't even pass the senate, the senate bill can't even pass the senate, why not look at that as a way out of this? i understand you oppose it but it is better than nothing, right? >> but, jay, first of all that hypothetical hasn't come to pass. secondly, the, like you said it is the way the house and the senate work. but if you're getting similarly narrow majorities in both house it is does not represent a bipartisan
compromise especially fit is purely partisan on both sides. that is not how this needs to work. not the way in the divided government it needs to work even if it is unsatisfying to certain members of congress, in order to address this serious problem. so, you know, we can go round and round but i don't have a answer to you because it hasn't come to pass. the reason all this shows, the reason the president spoke last night the to inform the american people a stalemate exists and scenario you put forward demonstrates if it were to come to pass that the stalemate exists. we need a bipartisan compromise, a word that, for all the wrong reasons has become a dirty word in washington when in fact, most americans out there are not absolutists in their views about what congress should or shouldn't do. they just want washington to work for them. >> if the white house working to arrive at a compromise? >> every day.
every hour. all weekend. the fallacy that we have not put forth detailed proposals, when, when, you know, highest members of this administration have met regularly with leaders of both parties in both houses trading ideas on paper. as you know, the president detailed, gave great detail on friday about the proposals he had been negotiating with the speaker of the house. then many of you went and spoke with senior white house officials who bombarded you with numbers that demonstrated the level of detail to which we have been engaged in negotiations with the speaker of the house. we have been, we have operated in good faith. we have made extreme compromise. >> since everything broke down on friday. >> yes we have been in regular contact with leaders of both houses in both parties. >> so what is plan b? >> we're working on a plan b. but obvious this, congress has to come together.
there has to be a product that can pass the house and senate and be signed into law. we're part of that process. and this president has been engaged in an intense way at a great level of detail and that continues. and we believe that we will get to a point where where we will reach the kind of compromise that is essential to insure that america does not default on its obligations and to insure that we, begin the process of significantly paying down our deficits. yes? >> thanks, jay. the speaker has effectively cut the -- out of significant part of the discussion going on. does the president feel sidelined? >> absolutely not. not for any lack of trying to keep things somewhat quiet. it's been made clear and that, conversations between the white house and leaders of both parties in both houses have continued through the weekend into this week and they have to continue because we have to
find a compromise. we believe that's why, that's what we're here for. that's why the president and vice president were elected. that's why each member of congress is elected, to work together to produce action that benefits the country. and working together means you don't get to just decide in a group of like-minded individuals that this is what you want and try to force it on everybody else. you can try to persuade everyone else you're right but when that process fails as it has you need to compromise and that's where we are. >> the speaker said he doesn't want to deal with the president. he wants to deal with the senate. we're not seeing kind of meetings we were seeing before. how is that not very much changed the president's role? >> we have, it is, it is a helpful question in that is elucidates where we've been here. either the president isn't engaged enough or too engaged. you know, he has met regularly with the leaders of congress. he has met individually,
collectively with the leaders of congress. he is steeped in the detail and has been engaged in the negotiations. his, jack liu, rob nagors, bruce reed many others are intensely engaged in this and they continue to be. whether that entails large formal meetings in the cabinet room or telephone conversations it continues. and, you know, we're not, we're just looking for a process that produces the result that america needs, to insure that the economy stays strong. that it keeps creating jobs. that our credit rating is maintained, and that we are able to address the serious issues of reducing our deficits and getting our debt under control. the process is far less important than the result. >> and, you said, i mean, it seems significant that the president did not out right say he would veto the
boehner plan. you say it's a moot point but at the same time, there was a veto threat on pcb which would have made it to the president's desk. so comment on that. >> the way these processes play out, you know, and saps are produce to people that produce statements of administration policy. >> saps? >> you haven't heard of sps. people who create sps, statements of administration policy. we addressed this. president made statement on that proposed legislation or existing legislation. the white house chief of staff asked about this. addressed it clearly, we were not, the woe don't think it will come to pass so it is a hypothetical but our position has been clear. >> you can say the same thing about ccb that -- >> but the white house chief of staff said so. he said the president would
veto it if it hit his desk. that is pretty clear. >> why not the saps? >> you know, again, i refer you to the producers of the saps. [laughter] >> you have nothing to do with that? >> i don't produce that. >> the president has nothing to do with it? >> we'll get back to you on that. nora. >> would the president sign a debt ceiling increase that includes no new tax revenues? >> i think the president made clear the option that the majority leader put forward was a better option than the speaker of the house put forward. not an ideal option but a better option. it does contain win it the mechanism by which a committee would grapple with the tough issues of entitlement reform and tax reform. in other words, revenues but it does not contain within it up front revenues. and guess what? that's a compromise. the word that wasn't spoken
by the speaker of the house last night. that's a compromise. we understand that we're not going to be able to get the exact bill through congress that we want. we accept that. we think it's important that what does emerge can get support from democrats and republicans and can be signed by this president. and then, after that's done, we go back to the grindstone and we keep working on those stuff issues that this president shown himself willing to address on entitlement reform and tax reform because those remain important. >> the president appeared in the briefing room on friday and talked about being left at the altar twice and lot of discussion about moving goalposts. then on saturday the president spoke with speaker boehner and offered a new proposal again where he would be willing to take out the $400 billion and $800 billion in revenue. why did he do this? >> well i think the president made clear and i
made clear and others made clear the idea that we moved the goalposts that we suddenly put forward a proposal that blew up the negotiations was simply wrong. negotiations engage in, okay, you need a little of this. i need a little of that. here's how this works. we're making all these commitments for significant savings out of entitlement reform. in order to do that i propose that we need this much more in revenue. the last time the president and speaker spoke he said if you can't do that, let's talk about it, let's figure out a way to get to, yes. and the speaker walked away for the second time. what, i'm not going to address the specifics of conversations that the two men had or that others had but i think it's, absolutely the case that we believe that there is room to find an agreement in the negotiations that the speak of the house and the president were engaged in and that we didn't make
ultimatums or final offers. and the $400 billion in revenue that you referred to, is certainly something we can discuss. and if the, if the answer is, well, that was my position but it's not my position today so if you give me that i no longer say yes, that raises doubt about your commitment to actually finding a solution that's a compromise. we are willing to compromise. we believe that there is a balanced approach that could clear both houses. probably not a single member would say it was his or her ideal solution but it could get a majority in the house, a filibuster-proof majority in the senate. it would get support from republicans and democrats and could be signed by this president. and most importantly, it will would remove the cloud hanging over our economy created by the uncertainty over lifting the debt ceiling and it would address in a significant balanced way the need to reduce our deficits going forward. >> congressman jim jordan
who heads the republican study committee just said, i don't have an exact count but i do not believe there are it 18 republicans -- 218 republicans supportive of boehner's new proposal. if the white house believes that boehner's proposal is going to fail and there are already some republican defections and the reid thing will not pass with 60 votes, why not, why not convene everybody back here to the white house and -- >> as you know, we've had a lot of meetings here and a lot of them have been called on fairly short notice and i'm certainly not going to preclude the possibility that more meetings will come. we are doing whatever it takes to try to reach a compromise here. as you know. and this president continues to be willing to do that, whether it is phone calls or it's meetings, additional proposals or, standing back because leaders of congress tell him that's the best way for them to reach a solution. his views are well-known.
his proposals and commitments have been detailed, in word and on paper and he remains open to finding a way to compromise with republicans and democrats. yes? >> to follow on that, -- >> first -- >> first exchange from the seat. actually your good side. >> thank you [laughing] >> good one-liner. very confusing. your right my left. >> your right, my left. i wanted to follow nora, if you basically have this boehner plan you say can't get through the senate and you have a reid plan that republicans don't think you can get through the senate or the house, you're saying we want a compromise what was the appointment of giving a prime-time address to the nation without obama plan and saying neither of these other plans can work? >> where is the idea there is not obama plan.
>> there is not one on paper. >> point number one on the talking points issued by the republican party. i get it. >> show us the plan. >> it is not a talking point. that is unfair. where is the plan. >> president put forward in detail his principles at george washington university. >> right. >> that is detail. the president stood before you, i can't remember if you were here friday night. some of you weren't because you cut out early but a lot of you were. in detail with numbers what he is willing to do. he then, referred from the podium to the fact that white house officials would be briefing in detail what our plan is. now, the purpose of putting forward a plan on paper -- our interest in this has been to get a compromise, to get a deal. it has not been to politically position ourselves say, with, things that appeal to our base, maybe pieces of legislation that we know can't pass but, greeted warmly by certain constituencis. our goal and reason why the negotiations have been
conducted the way they have been conducted is because we want a result. that's the way the president has it. it is simply not the case, you know, that, senior members of house republican leadership can open their desk drawer, pull out reams of paper that represent the president's proposals and his counterproposals and his counter counter proposals and understanding they need more of this and he would like more of that. there is plenty of detail. >> but even if the president gave numbers on friday night, white house aides say he was giving speech to the nation because most americans were not paying attention until last night. even if he gave numbers friday night the american people were not paying attention by your own estimation. why didn't he say last night, here are the nine things i support and hire the numbers. lay it out, call congressman with this not with thinly -- >> the point is, the fact you addressed the nation only so often, on prime time. the president has been out
here with unbelievable amount of regularity talking to you, talking to the american people throughout this process. he put forward in great detail, if you guys haven't talk about it on air or put it in your newspapers or online, then you should because the detail is there. secondly, he needed to talk to the american people last night because for good reason, because they have their own lives to worry about and they count on washington, not always to take care of everything but take care of the big things like making sure we don't default on our obligations. he needed to talk to the american people, to those americans who haven't been paying close attention where this stands and why it is so important and why the risk is there that if congress doesn't act and we believe it will, something that has never happened before in our history could happen and it would be very bad indeed. that's why he had to address the country and why he wanted to explain to them his view, that compromise is so necessary. >> one other quick thing. i think on cbs radio this morn dan pfeiffer said if
congress does not act by august 2nd this could lead to a depression. is this your position, that we might have a depression in america? >> depression, what i know, what, economic experts have said is that, and again, republican and democrat, jim baker, ronald reagan, all sorts, have said that a default on our obligations would produce an economic calamity. how that, how you demean that obviously depend on how long it lasts and what the ongoing implications of that would be. we don't believe it comes to pass. . .
>> release it. it's the last week, release it. >> we have shown a lot of late on what we were proposing. >> to where? >> from the podium right here. [laughter] and from the roosevelt room. you know, certainly the speaker of the house can address or his people can address what their last offer was. they claim they walked away from the table because of the 400 billion. >> if they threw it out there and -- >> i care never if you were here. the president stood here on friday night and went into great detail. you should look at the transcript. the president people -- >> why not just release that?
>> is a because you need something printed for you, you can't write it down? >> is not a plan. it wasn't a planned the same when we getting a plan on the house. >> we don't know what the medicare thing is that we don't know what the social security part of this is. [talking over each other] >> we talked about what's in medicare, and you know it. >> i know you're probably getting frustrated because we're all asking the same question but you were before the american people last night and said, calls are members of congress and tell them we want a compromise. you had a plan, if you're making the case for, sounded like a version of the compromise. release it to the public. >> that is 1.5, $1.7 trillion agreed upon discretionary nondefense savings, cuts. other savings, and on the most important stuff, the tough stuff, the stuff that makes it very hard for democrats to do it
better be willing to do it, entire mister you know the issues in terms of the kinds of reform that were produced significant savings. significant savings in defense, $400 billion. significant savings in revenue. through closing loopholes and tax reform that would produce by lowering rates and broadening the base it would produce a significant savings. there are details we can go to details. what we put forward, you know, again this was a forward situation. the point is as both parties have said, they were engaged in serious negotiations. we were close to an agreement. one party said they walked away because of and assistance on an extra $400 billion on revenue. we said we could easily talk about that and resolve that issue. and that's the kind of
compromise -- >> in new revenue? >> that's correct. >> what parts, and was entitled to form going to be cut up front? >> well, you know how this, things that have been talked about in terms of the reforms, it would obviously be an entitlement to be phased over a period of time. no one has talked about up front tax revenues, for example. the president himself said nothing before 2013 and how these things would play out. these were significant savings, real savings. the kinds of things in terms of entitlement reform that people talk about for a long time, the public in particular, the president was willing to do. he was looking for a partner and he felt he had one, and he hopes he still has one going forward. >> why don't you guys just accept the deal and ask a senator to introduce it in the senate? >> we will see. carol. >> a follow on. the president said on friday, you guys have -- when we are in
the roosevelt room there was paper. we asked for it that we weren't actually handed. >> the people in the room walked you through the numbers, okay? you know, i mean, we can engage in this bet you know that the reason why we approach it is what is precisely to make it, to create the optimum circumstances for a compromise. it is, most of you are a veteran washington reporter know how this process works. when you put forward a position it becomes highly on difficult issues before it, before compromise is reach, your chances of actually getting an agreement diminish significantly. that's how it works. you know that's how it works. if you don't, you should. others do. it is precisely because we wanted and believed and hoped we
could reach a compromise, that negotiations were conducted the way they were, by both sides by the way. you know, it is one thing to say that yes, republicans but for plans that everybody knows can't become law. republicans were also engaged in quiet, detailed, concrete negotiations to reach a compromise. >> activists on your side tearing -- >> and there's. >> that's why this hasn't gone public. >> you know how it works. >> that is the recent? >> we wanted an outcome, as we have talked about, bob dole and others, okay? that's why. >> you said earlier we are working on plan b. what do you mean by that? is there a chance that what happened in the house? >> we don't have the luxury of waiting for -- >> are you working on a specific
plan? >> the white house is working on, talking to members of congress about, as it has come every day, seven days a week, for multiple weeks now, about ways that we can get to a result here. that does what it needs to do which is ensure that the debt ceiling is raised, the cloud is removed from our economy and that we reduce deficits. acknowledging that we won't get everything we want, we may not -- we may not grab hold of this unique opportunity as fully as we could have, deal with issues up front that are embedded in this, like tax reform and entitlement reform but we have to do some significant and we actually have to ensure that we remove, you know, the threat to our economy that uncertainty prevails. >> the lack of market reaction make it more difficult at this stage of the game? >> no. look, i'm not a market analyst but i think it is a good thing
that people still believe, as we believe, that washington will eventually do the right thing and resolve this problem. and to the extent that's reflected in markets, that represents our view, which in spite of everything, inspite of the drama and the back and forth, that in the end because of the stakes, because of the need to do something and the fact that we are here to serve the american people, we will in the end do the right thing. >> after all the previous talk about corporate jets and so forth, what is the message from here to people who thought that the president was going to deliver and end the tax breaks that he backed away from last night speak what he didn't back away. he spoke at length about the need for balance, a need -- key reference corporations -- >> his plan did not include those. >> again, we said is a much
better option than the speakers proposal. it is not our ideal option. we simply balance is the way to go. at some point we have to go with the best possible option that ensures that we don't have this threat hanging over our economy. and that achieve significant debt reduction. even within the proposal put together by century, there was tax reform. as i just had an answer to the last question, we agree that it would be best to address that now in a grand bargain, a bipartisan compromise. short of that we need to do, take all the necessary measures to ensure that this threat doesn't loom over our economy, and we significantly reduce the deficit. >> is the message didn't -- >> the message is we're willing to compromise. >> we will fight attacks breaks another they? >> we will do with title reform
and tax reform in the future as soon as possible, if that is the way this comes out, as long as these other issues are dealt with. >> just to be clear, with the president veto any short-term extension? is that something he's willing to do? >> i think the president has been clear, i sort of address this a couple of times, the president has been clear on where he stands on short-term compromise. or short-term extension of the debt ceiling. any kind of bill that requires that we go through this in five or six or eight months again, does anybody believe this would be easier in six months? when, according to the plan that was put forward they would be an attempt to basically install the ryan budget by the cut, cap and balance into law again? does anybody think that will be easier? i don't think so. the president has been clear about why he opposes the short-term extension to the debt
ceiling. that's all i can say on that. >> and following, is there any -- could take a downgrade in the u.s. debt credit rating, you know, from the credit rating agencies to actually force ideal among house republicans? >> no, we believe that the leaders are fully aware of the risks and the potential consequences, and why we take comfort in the fact that everyone says we have to take action. >> the president has said his lawyers are not convinced the constitutional option is a winning argument. is that saying it is totally off the table? >> it's not a table. the constitution makes clear that congress has the authority not the president, to borrow money. and only congress can increase the statutory debt ceiling. that's just a reality. you could have an esoteric discussion of constitutional law and what could or should not be
changes, but we don't, you know, we'll have the luxury or the time. the law is what it is. that's how we view it. and that's why we have to reach a compromise. >> i know you expected deal and a compromise. but if there is none the president will not -- >> we have been very clear, secretary clinton has been very clear, there are no easy ways out here. there are no tricks, no sighting of the constitution that suddenly allows us to borrow money when our borrowing authority has run. there will be a treasury auction on august 4. that, you can, suddenly claimed much of the authority to borrow on half of the united states of america. i don't think the buyers of treasury securities will accept that necessary. so we don't find that an argument that works, and we have to deal with the reality that we're facing, which is the need for a compromise to do the right
thing before august 2. >> you continue to say default would cut -- cause economic calamity on august 2. there is a polls document 52% of the public does not believe the president has done enough on jobs. the president of the naacp -- he used words like great depression and you have to learn the lessons. what you say folks who played their art in this situation and the president has done in a? >> i would say we absolutely agree that the economy is not where it needs to be, that we're not growing as fast as we need to be and we are not creating jobs as fast as we need to be. the president has said many times he will not rest until he knows every american looking for a job has found one. it is also the case that, while we are nowhere near where we need to be, we've gone from a situation where the economy was hurtling towards the abyss and
people talking about bank holidays and global economic collapse and we are losing more than 700,000 jobs a month, where the economy is contracting by more than 6% a quarter, to situation where we have been growing steadily, not fast enough but growing, and where we have been creating jobs, still it. not enough but steadily. more than 2.1 million private sector jobs. but there is no question. that's what in this process of the president has been so insistent that we not do anything, when that deal with our deficit and away the harsher economic recovery, that we do it in a way that enhances our economic recovery. that we do in a way that protects the kind of investments that are essential to ensure economic growth. [inaudible] >> no, i think these continue to be hard economic times for a lot of people. and that's why the president's focus every day on the economy.
and why we need to continue to work to make sure that we're doing everything we can to grow the economy and create jobs. we are not doing things that reverse that process. is why the president, i think he made clear on friday and other days, supports an extension of the payroll tax cut which undeniably enhance growth and helps create jobs after it was passed for this calendar year last december in a bipartisan agreement between republicans and democrats and the president. he thinks we should again reduce taxes for working americans for next year, extend the payroll tax cut precisely because we need to keep doing what we can't to create jobs and grow the economy. jackie. >> one quick one. you said earlier in the briefing 1.7 trillion, 1.5, 1.7 trillion. >> what i look at and others have said, there was general agreement, this general argument where nobody disagreed on $1.5 trillion in discretionary
cuts. an additional 200 billion that we were willing to put forward, this is at the point that the compromise negotiations stalled. an additional 200 billion we believe that we could support in non-health care mandatory cost savings that we believe we could get democratic support for. that's 1.7 trillion. >> but on the offer, the last offer the president and speaker been was 1.2. >> i can, we can gauge with people who know the numbers like the back of their hand. but there are different levels of 1.2 maybe nondefense discretionary, you know, but in any case you know, there was a great deal of disagreement on where we could cut discretionary spending. then there was agreement on a certain portion, $800 billion of
tax revenues through tax reform. there was agreement on some of the measures that we could do to find savings through entitlement reform, not all. and that is where some of the tension continue to exist in terms of how that balance would work. you can't sort of say this won't work for us without adjusting over here because each side, there has to be balance in the pain, if you will, that each side is going to endure in order to reach a compromise. >> the house majority leader -- speaker boehner twice left private talks with president obama. is that three strikes you're out? has the president -- >> four yards to get -- four downs to get 10 yards. of all listeners are one scenario was addressed, or possibly by folks in the front row comes to pass, the
bipartisan compromise is still on the table and is out there and could be taken up. we are ready to do that. and we would certainly like to see speaker and others be ready to do it as well. we think that there is, i mean, what we've said for so long now is that small is not any easier than big. so let's do big. because as we have seen throughout this process, none of this is a slam dunk. none of it is oh, yeah, we can all support that, that's easy. and the fact is why not do something significant and big that requires sacrifice, political sacrifice by both parties, requires compromise, requires a willingness to take each and get outside your comfort zone, and do it, you know, go for something significant here. >> real quick on the speech last night. the president had nice words to
say about speaker boehner in your talks even those in the. is that really helpful for speaker boehner in the conference to be getting sort of warm words from the present? and never do, and speaker boehner's comments about the president were really personal and critical. what you say about the status of their relationship? >> i think the two men have gotten to know each other. they spent a lot of time together and they were able set aside their differences and attempt to work toward a bipartisan compromise. i think that possibility remains. like most folks in washington, especially elected officials, i think everybody is able to endure negative things that might be said about them, and even positive things that might be said about them. i think the consequences of that are pretty minimal. the reality is that while it
would be nice, voters didn't and everyone here to like each other but they didn't send them to work together. and the fact that we have differences, strongly held in principle, differences among us, ken, continues to be true even as we reach compromise. and that, you know, that's the way we approach it. i think the president was being honest about how he feels his relationship is with the speaker and how the negotiations, but really it should be irrelevant except for the fact that he, and at the time, the speaker were trying to do something significant that required a compromise and political risk. >> you have spoken before about -- does the president have the power to make choices and say this bill is better than another
bill? >> my understanding is it is an executive branch process. that's why the treasury department and the omb. >> i understand the present was thinking of the they talk about tim geithner and the option, why not publish a list of -- >> first of all we don't believe it's going to happen. that process, as i understand it, you know, would be irresponsible not to look at that. i assume they're looking at a. i don't have anything to announce our publish for you. we believe we will get a compromise. >> you don't think it will help to get a compromise is the american people had in front of them a list of what could maybe even call -- >> i think the reality is clear. the 80 million checks that have to be issued, the fact that we need to borrow in order to pay our bills, you know, we will see how this process goes forward.
again, we just don't anticipate. we certain help that will not happen. [inaudible] >> is it too premature to begin that discussion? >> i haven't seen that legislation but it would be, they would be dreaming or engaging in wishful thinking if they think there are no trade-offs, that you can pay, like you decide what you're going to pay. there are other obligations that the united states government has. because of legislation and decisions passed by congress and decisions made by congress, including, not mention in your lives, maybe it is, the vendors who sell the united states government ammunition to ship to our troops overseas. all of the vendors, these are private vendors that have business with the federal government. there is no scenario here by which you can't escape the
reality that if you don't have the authority to borrow, you can't pay all your bills. in a timely manner. >> i was just going to ask, this morning we spoke with dan coats cities getting a mix of calls from both sides. with phones ring off the hook on capitol hill, what is the call volume here and what is the response? >> i don't know. i have to check. christine. >> with seven days left, and so far no deal in sight, i mean, in retrospect -- >> no deal in sight? >> you say so. right now there is not a solid deal. in retrospect in terms of strategy, do you feel like maybe you would have had more success if you have perhaps gone to american people are with these details, these numbers and not come out friday? do you feel like that would have been more helpful to have the call volume come in the capital?
>> look, i leave it to you and then historians to examine disputed and talk about how it unfolded. i think an answer to questions that chuck and carol had about why we approached these negotiations the way we did, i think we're pretty, we are on solid ground in terms of how washington works and the best course of action is that you want. if you want a compromise and result as opposed to the political division. the president did go in front of the american people in a speech, george washington university, made very clear what his approach was, a balanced approach which is presently the same approach is taking to this day, the need for, if you're going to achieve significant deficit reduction, the need for revenue to be part of that. and his absolute willingness to address the hard issues have and haven't reform. as well as the other difficult spending reductions that he was willing to engage in. were to accept. so, you know, they would be
plenty of time to examine that. we think we have been operating in good faith and engaged in tensely. we think we got very far down the road with the speaker of the house, and we believe that andy and we will reach a bipartisan compromise that will not be perfect that will allow us to do the right thing by the american people. >> i want to go back to the issue, last week rick perry -- same-sex marriage in new york is fine within. is there any concern the president may be discussing from the lgbt commission -- [inaudible] >> i think you know that this president's record on lgbt issues is exceptional. he's very committed to it. he worked very hard on the repeal and he continues to work hard on these issues, and it's not an issue political support.
it's what he believes the right thing to do and he will continue to do that. george. >> in reaction to congress -- congress when will that he is resigning and the fact that the second democratic congressman under these circumstances the? i did understand he was resigning but i don't have a reaction. >> has the president been in touch with the major creditor nations, china, japan, et cetera, if so what have they told him? regardless of whether not he has, what's his message of? >> not that i'm aware of although i don't have, i don't have any foreign calls to read out or additional was that our message is that in the end we are confident that congress will do the right thing and the united states will not default on its obligations for the first time in its history. >> the president has made reference to talk radio and
columnist. how much influence do they talk real congress have have on this debate? >> i don't have to measure it. i'm sure that everybody, everyone in this room is some influence on the debate because the american people get the information about what's happening here largely through you, through radio, the internet, radio, print. so everybody performs a service here and has an obligation to report fully and fairly. april. >> how much of a concern does the administration have in this process about, we are borrowing, particularly china, if they were to at this point in time, if things were not worked out by august 2, they could call their debt, it would stabilize the country. >> tranninety think there is a reason why for so long the united states has been considered the gold standard and the safest of safe havens for investment.
we intend to ensure that that remains the case. i mean that's really all i have to say about that. we need to take the action, and we will, to ensure that remains the case. thanks very much. >> wait a second. the president has not called any of these stations? >> the president has not had any reaction. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
>> if you want to be informed about what is happening in the world, particularly in american politics and particularly in the congress, it's not so hard. c-span has a digital online archive that goes back to 79 or 19 is seven. where you can basically watch anything that happened in the house or senate chambers right there on your screen. there are sources of information that were unimaginable 20 years ago. >> the c-span video library makes it easy to follow washington with instant access to events from the white house to committee rooms and the house and senate chambers. all searchable, shareable and free. the peabody award-winning c-span video library. it's washington your way. >> earlier today republican committee chair jim jordan said he thinks speaker boehner doesn't have the gop votes needed to pass his days eating
plan and house. congressman jordan said he opposed the plan because it wouldn't cut spending enough and it does require a balanced budget. his remarks came during a news conference. it's about 30 minutes. >> thank you, everybody. especially my colleagues for being here today. we do have a lot of folks speaking, so it would be okay if any member of congress committed that unusual a sense of having an unspoken thought. and in any case, if we can all try to keep our comments brief so we can get to the q&a session. although the president's speech last night didn't give me a great deal of cost for conference i nevertheless still hope that the president will drop insistence on huge tax increase, drop his opposition to present a balanced budget so
that we can reach an agreement on raising the debt limit prior to august 2. but at this late stage in the process, it's obvious now to everybody that it is possible, increasingly possible that we will not have raised the debt ceiling by august 2. and if august 2 does indeed pass without the debt ceiling having been raised, we believe it's essential that the federal government have a plan for prioritizing the payments that can and should and really must be made using the resources that the government will have,come especially ongoing tax resources. some of us have been making this argument for many, many months now. unfortunately, the administration has persisted in denying that it can't or will prioritize payments in this scenario. instead they persisted in predicting default, implying in fact that they will choose to default on our bond. in a letter to congress, treasury secretary geithner said
in may, and i quote, this would be an unprecedented event in american history, a default would inflict catastrophic far-reaching damage on our nation's economy, significantly reducing growth and increasing unemployment. president obama said on may 15 of this year, and i quote, if investors around the world thought the full faith and credit of the united states was not being backed up, if they thought we might renege on our ious, it could unravel the entire financial system. could have the worst recession than we already had, in worst financial crisis than we already had. fact is it's entirely within the power of this administration to avoid that very scenario, regardless of whether or not we raise the debt limit prior to august 2. these are scare tactics. they have been meant to intimidate congressional republicans into voting for the package that the administration wants. frankly, it's irresponsible and its dangers. the administration should not be threatening to make the debt ceiling impasse more disruptive
than it needs to be. now there are published reports that treasury officials are calling big bank executives and assuring them privately that if the debt limit is not raised, they, the treasury department, while nevertheless ensure that there is no default on our bonds. well, it's all well and good for the administration to provide that assurance to friends on wall street. i think it's about time that we provide that insurance to senior citizens around the country. that's why we're introducing a bill that we're unveiling today, ensuring the full faith and credit of the united states and protecting america's soldiers and seniors act. i'm delighted to report that as of this moment we already have 31 cosponsors in the senate. the number has been growing consistently. what our bill would do is instruct the treasury secretary and event the debt ceiling is not raised prior to august 2 to make certain obligations priority, so that they will be
paid in full, on time and without delay. the three priorities are simple. first, it's interest on our debt so we will not default on our debt and not plunge our economy into chaos. second, social security payments, because millions of senior citizens, including my parents, depend on the social security payments that they have earned by virtue of their own prior contributions to the system. and, finally, the table for active duty military personnel, because the men and women are risking their lives for us should not have to worry about whether their families will receive their income in a timely fashion. now, as this chart illustrates there are far more than enough resources for the administration to make these payments, and, frankly, many others. for the very from august 3 through august 31 total revenue will be at least $173 billion, perhaps much more, and the combined cost of paying the interest on our debt, social
secret payments and active duty military they will be about $81 billion. so less than half of the revenue that would be coming in during the month of august. these numbers by the way are not made up by someone in my office. these were the numbers provided by the bipartisan policy center. they have been confirmed by many other sources. let me close by saying this, this bill is not meant to be a substitute for raising the debt limit. i and i suspect most of the folks on this stage have voted in favor of raising the debt limit, provided that we put our government on a path to a balanced budget. what this bill is all about is minimizing whatever destruction might otherwise occur. if the debt limit is not raised prior to august 2. i continue to hope that this legislation never needs to be implemented, but it would be very, very irresponsible to be unprepared, or worse, to be unwilling to minimize the
potential for disruption. at this time i would like to introduce the chairman of the rnc, congressman jim jordan. >> let me just be real quick and say, look, there's enough money in the month of august to make sure that bond holders get paid, social security recipients and their check, and men and women who wear our uniform to protect our country get paid. this bill sells out that in particular. and i think as the sender indicated, when you have the president of united states continue to try to scare people, instead of doing what i think appropriate for president of this great country, which is we assure people of what actually the facts are, we think it's critical to bring this bill forward at this particular time. so i just want to commend senator toomey and his colleagues as was her house colleagues who are here, many of them has sponsored similar legislation already in the house. but we think is just important to reassure the american people, there is enough money in the
month of august to take care of the things that need to be paid for. we are committed to doing that. at this late hour it looks like there may be a chance we get past august 2, we think it's critical this bill be introduced and passed in both houses and sent to the president. >> thanks very much, pat, for your relationship -- leadership. and, obviously, right now it's particularly important. and again, the idea is simple. for months we have heard about u.s. government default year there's absolutely no reason that ever has to happen, no matter what. and this bill will make that clear and ensure that. more recently we have heard of social security checks not going out to seniors. there is absolutely no reason that should ever happen, and this bill will make that clear and ensure that.
and there's been similar talk about military pay. and again, there's absolutely no reason, no matter what, those checks ever have to be disrupted. this bill will make that clear and ensure that. i think we owe all of those groups, i would put seniors the top of that list, that reassures. and the fact that, quite frankly, they have been scared in tactics over this battle is very unfortunate, but we owe them that priority and we owe them that reassurance. and the next is congressman from arizona. >> thank you, senator. i stand in front of you partially been one of those people who has been very frustrated with almost a disingenuous use of language from this administration. how often have we heard the use, the word default? that's if we don't a our interest on the bonds. and then the attempt for the administration to scare our seniors.
well, the reality we did mr. we have enough cash flow. it would've been a much more honest discussion, and actually many ways much more genuine and interesting to have a discussion about the one-third of federal spending that exists from borrowing. but why this is so important what many of us believe the administration may probably, has this type of authority. but we stepped up, offer the lie which is the administration might stop playing disingenuous games with the language. thank you. >> and i think -- >> not here. >> fill in. >> i can never do that. it was somewhat disconcerting to hear the president last night speak primarily about as to what he was opposed to instead of what he was in favor of, with just days to go now to the deadline of august 2.
we still yet to have his answer to the fiscal problem. i think my colleagues behind me all join us in saying what we're looking for it is a solution rather than a deal. and the house of representatives today. last week they listen to the american people when we passed under speaker boehner's leadership a balanced approach, if you will in a bipartisan approach when we passed cutting federal spending initially, placing caps on it over the next several years and, of course, the balance in, the balanced budget amendment that the final linchpin in a solution to our fiscal problems. that is the first do. unfortunately, we went over to the senate we know that the senate did not vote no on the come to ashley simply postponed a vote. not engage in any debate whatsoever and simply put it off to another day. we still are encouraged that of the day may come. until the day comes when the legislation to answer the next question how do we prioritize the debt to make sure seniors are paid, these other bills are paid and we do not default.
that is why i join with senator toomey in this legislation. now go to the other senator that is here, senator mike leigh. >> we all know that it is wise to plan for the past but prepare for the worse. that's what this bill does. and i commend senator toomey and represent your and others have brought this forward. because this is something that allows us to avoid having america's senior citizens be used as pawns in this game to try to avoid what some people are improperly referring to as a default. i want to echo again, the one plan that has been put forward to raise the debt limit to address this problem was put forward essentially this same group year, and it was passed in the house of representatives with the support of five democrats in the house. when he came over to the senate it was denied an opportunity for
a vote. not just an up or down vote that any opportunity for meaningful debate and discussion, or a full-blown amendment process. we think this is unfortunate. we think it's also no coincidence this happen as result of the fact that a cnn poll released just today after it was passed in the house review of the american people were overwhelmingly in support of the cut, cap and balance act as it was described in the poll. along the lines that it was passed in the house of representatives. we think that that still is the plan, the only plan that garnered significant support within congress, and for outside groups across the country. we are preparing for the worst in the event that an forcefully, if we reach our past august 2 deadline, this will make sure that our senior citizens and our troops and those who have purchased our debt instruments are not used as pawns to force a deal. that is a wise for the american people and it might make our credit rating worse. and at this point i will turn the tide over to representatives
make mulvaney from south carolina spent real briefly, one of the criticisms you hear, is a treasury can't do it. very quick to point out they write 80 million checks a month. physically, logistically they can't do that. the first reaction is what has mr. guide been doing since january? he should've been working on this since january. i think what we're hearing now, the better answer to that is in private discussions we are now being taken place between him and some of the banking leaders is that he has been working on have to do this. and he does have the ability to prioritize, sorted and dispense and i would imagine social security as well. i think it's another red herring from the administration when they say physically they cannot do it. >> make no mistake. if there is a crisis on august 2, if there's a decline in the stock market, is there some sort of hysterical reaction, the blame and responsibility for this lies squarely on the shoulders of the
president. at any point in the last six months, he could take default off the table. he can look at the numbers, and he should reassure the market that he will pay the interest on the debt. he should reassure the senior citizens that he will pay their checks. and he should reassure the soldiers. so if something happens augus august 2, the blame and responsibility lies squarely on his shoulders. i call on the president today to support this legislation, to publicly come forward and say that he will not default. >> i'm a freshman. let me be brief and let me be blunt. this president has created a mess. and like a 10 year old child, we are late in the game and we have offered to help him clean up his mess. but like children often do, he stomps his feet and he has pointed his fingers and he has made threats.
and that has not at all been helpful in cleaning up this mess. this legislation is one more series attempt to reassure the american people that we will help clean up the mess, and we will just call on the president to finally, finally lead and be a constructive voice in this, instead of trying to continue to scare the american people. >> senator tom coburn. >> representative -- >> over the seven months that i have been here in the months preceding being sworn in, i have claimed that washington is broken. i think the american people and the world at large using the brokenness it as far as the solutions that we put forward. but i tell you, last week when we passed cut, cap and balance, bipartisan support, i believe
that the key component to that was the balanced budget amendment. i will tell you, fiscal responsibility, the crown jewel right in the middle would be a balanced budget amendment that is sent out to the states and let the american people choose through the exercising of freedom, choose how they want their capital. to operate. and i will tell you the reason that that is the crown jewel is because that is in line with what every american family has to do, every small business including those that my family operate, and what every state has to do. and so i urge all decision-makers here at this capitol, do what over 85% of americans want, the opportunity to set the stage for a balanced budget amendment to be enacted and to be adhered to in this nation's capital, to put constraints on a city that has 175 million -- bank and into the treasury each month but
continues writing checks out of over $300 billion. that doesn't work in the american family. that doesn't work in small business. and as i have alluded to numerous times again, that violates walking around since that my parents and my grandparents taught me by the age of 10. thank you. >> ron johnson. senator johnson. >> like steve, i certainly recognize as a freshman have broken washington is which is why on may 25 i sent a letter to president obama signed by 22 of my senate colleagues, you know, it was very irresponsible for the president for small to be steering the markets and the american people and the seniors the way he was doing. it was very irresponsible to assume he's going to get an increase in the debt ceiling without fixing the problem. it's irresponsible not to have a plan b. i think we're finding out that he has been pretty a response. the responsible thing right now is to pass this piece of legislation.
i just want to talk about the numbers, the annual numbers because when you see on a monthly basis we can cover the essential services. but according to the president's own budget, if we don't pass did increase, what does that mean, we have to live within our means. living within our means according to the present own budget would be $2.6 trillion. put that in context. as $800 billion more than we spend just 10 years ago under bill clinton. it totally covers the interest on the debt, about 256 billion. totally covers social security, it still leaves $1.6 trillion for all other essential services. that's only 200 billion less than we spent just 10 years ago. so again this does not have to be a crisis, as long as we plan for. unfortunate visit ministration has not made those plans, and that's unfortunate.
>> does anybody find it ironic that last night you had a speech from the president of the united states spreading gloom and doom in fear and political attacks? and today you have a group of republican senators and congressmen just trying to re- usher america -- reassure america. seems like there's been a just position here. in any event, back in march it was clear that our military and fear of our military not been paid since they would have to work in a shutdown, since that became obvious, i filed a bill to try to force to make sure that military never have to worry for a second about whether or not they would be paid. since then the president has taken to scaring others, like our seniors, and scaring or potentially scaring people who hold our indebtedness. that they might actually not get
paid. that's so irresponsible. and i agree with the republican icon who in essence said last night, that's chris matthews, that he came out and gave political speech that was inappropriate. we want to assure america that money is there to do the things that we must do. it's irresponsible for the president to say i've got over $100 billion left in hardback assets that don't want to touch. i would rather scare the seniors. got over 100 billion from this, that, and the other but i don't want to touch those proceeds from the stem is, for example. it's irresponsible. and this bill, i tell you, pat, i loved being able to deal with pat toomey when he headed to north station was concerned about creating new jobs. but it is even better eating with him as an ally down the hall. so i appreciate the work that was put into this bill.
if you will read it, you will see that there are findings that are separate from what says these things are equal priorities. we don't want to see the chinese paper. this has in the findings, if you look at the underlying logical find social security is separate. seniors don't have to worry. there's $2.6 trillion in the social security trust fund in treasury note, and just as in 1985 and just as in 1996 when there was a shortfall for covering the checks, treasury notes in that were sold. and in 1996 the law said, it can only be used to pay the benefits and expenses of social security. this point that out to help reassure america. we're going to be good for our debt. we will be good for our obligations. those uncounted from getting a check from the government and
then we will work the rest of us out. don't worry, but anytime scare tactics are used you need to grab your wallet because something is not right. i'm glad to stand with you. and at this point senator barrasso, do you -- okay. then richard nugent. note. okay. and then jeff landry. >> thank you. i would be brief. there's no sense in telling you about my support for this bill. i like use my dad's, let's let our actions speak louder than our words. something the president doesn't like to do. a quick question many of you have, what with the impact of the present speech on american people? one of the first e-mail i got this one, i got from a lady down in my district and she said i listen to the president last night and as a good american, i had the intent of following through on his request.
that is, to contact my member of congress. and so i ended i am contacting you by e-mail. now that i've contacted you let me tell you what i would like to support. cut, cap and balance. plain and simple. thank you all. >> there is a philosophical difference between the folks over at the white house we think we haven't spent a revenue problem. they are wanted tax americans more so they can spend more of america's tax dollars. then you've got a philosophical difference of men and women stand up on the stage and within the halls of congress, and really americans all across this great land who understand and know that a spending problem. that we're spending a trillion to have more than we are bringing annually, third year in a row. we have debts that amounted to $14.3 trillion. it's dangerous to lawyer at the crossroads of history. and so do we want to take the easy route, the chamberlain route of appeasement of passing a clean debt ceiling that kicks
the can pass the election which is what the president wants, or do we want to take the hard road, the winston churchill rosa said we will fight you at the city, fight you in the air to make structural changes to the way this placement of washington, d.c., operates. we passed cut, cap and balance which makes us real structural changes to ensure that american people that we want to change business as you here in d.c. now we have this plan will ensure the american people will meet the needs of really what we think are the most crucial in this country. to a piece of the american people and let them understand that we will take care of their needs while we work out a long-term solution to the problems that we face. washington is looking for a deal. america is looking for a solution. >> thanks everybody. any questions? >> why are these obligations more important than the other legal obligations of the u.s.
government? >> for the reasons we cited during the comments. first of all, many of us believe that it would be very, very imprudent to default on our debt. the economic chaos that could pursue. social security is a violent important program for millions of america's seniors. i think all of us to a very special obligation for the men and women are literally risking their lives in live fire, fighting wars that are underway right now. so, these are not the only things that can be paid. as you can see from the chart, there's a great deal of other expenses that can be paid. we just felt that those rights to the highest level of importance and, therefore, should be prioritized. >> to questions if you don't mind if my first question is, even if they get paid, you shouldn't get paid? >> we got to get a solution to this problem. and i think everybody on this platform voted for a solution, or advocates that. namely, that we put our budget on a pass -- path to about.
if the president refused, along with putting that in place, then there is a danger that we will cross the august 2 deadline. in that case, these are the priorities. and as i say there's room for other payments to be made. it's not our intent to specify every last dollar but rather to identify the finally important programs and to avoid default on our debt. >> my next question is, could i see a show of house republicans which of you plan to vote against your speakers plan? why? [inaudible] [laughter] i was hoping we would focus more on the issue that is at hand but if you want to comment on that spirit look, we appreciate the speakers hard work. but if you look at this is about a 7 billion reduction in spending from what we are currently at. we advocated something much, much more. we also have real concerns about
the commission, 12 member commission, six democrats and one republicans decide they want to raise taxes, you can keep that off the board, come to the floor. we think the real problems with this plan but most importantly, we think the plan that has, been drafted, put in bill form, then debated, been passed by us congress, will present a downgrade and fixes the problem. we think that plan is pretty good sense. and by the way, the one the american people support. we actually like that plan much better that's why we support it. >> a follow-up speakers let me also answer him with regard to why these priorities can we say these are equal, the reason i think they are priorities is because these are the people the president has tried to scare. and, frankly, if the president comes up with another group that he tries to scare, he will probably see our group say, oh, we need to reassure them, too.
let's get them in there so they don't have to worry. we were emphasizing the groups he tried to scare that should not be scared. >> i have a follow-up. you said you opposed the plaintiff how many other house concert is do you think opposed the speaker's plan? >> i am confident as of this morning that there were not 218 republicans in support of the plan. spent if that were the only plan, would you be moved to support its? >> we have moved off of cut, cap and balance now. >> given the timeframe, it has passed one house of the congress yet. it is not a plan that has. how is that further down the road to becoming law and what we passed last week was i've yet to figure that out. [inaudible] >> do you think there's anything
leadership can do -- >> we have been real clear. i think everyone on the stage has been real clear. we are willing to look at it. but the key is getting that structural change that will fix the policy. geoff duncan said it best. washington wants to do. america wants a solution. we know this is the thing that will act to fix the problem and put in place those things that address the long-term needs. that's why we are for it. >> we expect the debt reduction crafted by harry reid to be considered on the senate floor this afternoon. that's expected to consume the majority of debate today in the senate. senators return from the weekly party meetings. now we go to live coverage of the u.s. senate.
objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent morning business be extended until 4:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. the presiding officer: the junior senator from illinois. mr. kirk: mr. president, this past sunday, an editorial in "the new york times" entitled "in the wake of fiew fukushima"d that if nuclear is to have a future in this conference, americans should have confidence in the industry and regulators are learning lessons from fukushima and are taking all steps necessary to ensure safety. following the accident at the fukushima plant in march, it's clear that maintaining america's confidence in the safety of our nuclear reactors is paramount. the disaster at fukushima should not lead to a freeze of the
nuclear industry. instead, it should be an opportunity to upgrade the safety of our nuclear fleet. both industry and the u.s. nuclear regulatory commission assure us that currently there is no immediate threat to the operation of our nuclear plants. nuclear power is especially important to my home state of illinois, where nearly half of all electricity in the state is nuclear. with 11 of 104 nuclear power plants and stations in our sta state, we have more reactors than any other state in the union. in the mere term, it's my hope that nuclear regulatories and the industry will take actions necessary to increase safety measures and integrate emergency operating procedures. furthermore, nuclear plants should swiftly implement sensible measures to increase flood protections, enhance containment venting capabiliti capabilities, install remote
monitoring controls of spent fuel pool conditions, and upgrade the ability to cope and maintain operations by a single station sustained for initially eight hours and eventually up to 72 hours, utilizing preplanned and prestaged resources. now, moving forward, one of our top priorities should be enhancing flood protection at reactors. obviously reactors for their cooling need to be near large bodies of water, subject to flood. fukushima highlighted the need to take additional protections to guarantee that current backup pumps and generators are also protected against flood or other seismic events. the recent flooding on the missouri river is a demonstration of the need for such enhancements. although flood barriers and procedures have so far protected the fort calhoun nuclear plant in nebraska, this is not the time to look away from making
further efforts on protecting reactors from floods. one of the ringing lessons of the fukushima disaster is the need for enhanced capabilities for nuclear operators to cope with prolonged power outages. every u.s. nuclear plant should be able to cope with a prolonged loss of power for at least eight hours for an initial period and eventually 72 hours using only the resources on site so that plant operators can utilize preplanned and prestaged equipment and muster other resources, if necessary. we should be prepared for simultaneous events at multiple reactors on site and should be able to maintain key power functions in the face of varying circumstances, including debilitated infrastructure, a lack of communication, and especially the loss of on-site power. it's clear that operators' capability to cope with a
prolonged loss of power was critical at fukushima. we know that the tsunami hit the fukushima diachi plant and wiped out all at fitting that power and backup power necessary to provide resources to the cooling pumps. this eventually caused overheating in both reactor vessels and cooling ponds. the ability to perform these critical functions and to monitor them, providing power to fans and pumps and to remotely open and close vents and valves, the inability of the japanese to perform these functions caused them to lose control of key areas or to maintain cooling to critical spent fuel ponds and reactor vessels. the japanese also were unable to remotely monitor conditions, especially in their spent fuel pools, and struggled continuously to pump enough water into their reactors. operators need to have proper
instrumentation at far remote locations so that they can continue to understand what is happening in reactors and cooling ponds if an event occurs. furthermore, we need to install proper venting upgrades on all reactors with the mark 2 containment design. this is an important step in preventing any kind of overpressurization in reducing risk of operations that we saw so clearly at fukushima. now, in the united states, there are 23 reactors with the mark 1 containment design. we have known since 1989 that there are flaws with the pressure containment system of the original mark 1 designed boiling water reactor. as a precaution, industry upgraded the mark 1 containments with hardened vents to protect against excess active pressure in the containment -- excessive pressure in the containment.
according to the n.r.c.'s very recent task force 90-day report, which examined the safety of nuclear power plants, the hardened vents are not universally installed on the mark 2 containments inside the united states. the task force noted further that because the mark 2 containments are only 25% larger than the volume of the mark 1, it's conceivable that the mark 2 containments under a similar situation would suffer the same consequences as units 1-4 at fukushima. we should install hardened vents on all mark 2 containment reactors and not allow any more time to pass before making deliberate improvements to address these safety concerns. now, as we press forward with nuclear power generation, i believe that the n.r.c. should also update our emergency planning zones. this is the evacuation zone that's preplanned around every
nuclear power plant. it seems prudent now in the light of the experience at fukushima that we should expand the emergency planning zone to the japanese radius of 20 kilometers, or 12.5 miles, around each nuclear reactor. these e.p.z.'s should also be updated with the latest 2010 census data of the number of americans residing around these reactors. and the n.r.c. should require enough radiation dose medication to handle at least two full e.p.c. evacuations, if necessary. we also know that the spent fuel pools posed a serious threat to the safety of the site. throughout the crisis, fukushima crews struggled to maintain water levels at the spent fuel pools to prevent an escape of uncontained radiation environment. for those of us that know a little bit about reactors, this was a surprise because normally we are totally focused on what is happening inside the reactor,
but at fukushima, as much attention had to be paid on overheating in the spent fuel ponds. this warning should serve as a beginning of an effort for us to relook at the issue of spent fuel in the united states, especially spent fuel which is stored near our drinking water sources. we all know that 96% of all the freshwater in the united states is in the great lakes, and i am concerned that we store approximately 1,000 tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel just 200 yards from the lake michigan shoreline at the now-defunct zion nuclear reactor. any proposal to stop the permanent disposal of nuclear waste in nevada is a proposal to continue storing highly radioactive nuclear fuel right next to america's source of 96% of its freshwater. i believe that we should now continue to reinvigorate the process of building the yucca
mountain facility. any proposal to not build yucca is a proposal to build a clear and present long-term danger to the environmental future of the great lakes. the bottom line is that we should not let the lessons learned from the fukushima disaster become a forgotten story, that the n.r.c. task force and its 90-day report issued after the fukushima disaster is a serious document that now should lead not just to further studies and consultant reports but comprehensive action like hardened vents, like making sure we have remote monitoring of spent fuel ponds, that all reactors be able to operate first eight and then 72 hours without outside power and that we take the other measures to upgrade our safety like expanding the e.p.z.'s. tomorrow i will be testifying before the nuclear regulatory commission and as the junior senator for the state of illinois, the most nuclear state
in america, i carry a strong message that nuclear power has a strong future in the united states but one that should be going forward in light of the lessons of fukushima. and with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. hatch: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, last night, we heard from president obama in a prime time address from the east room of the white house. the topic was raising the federal debt limit. according to the treasury secretary geithner, the federal government may breach the statutory debt limit as early as august 2, 2011. that's one week from today. remarkably, the president in yet another prime time address against hectored the american people about the need for politically charged tax hikes as a cure-all for our deficit and debt problems. you have to hand it to the president. he is a true believer. for the president, there seems
to be no problem in washington that can't be fixed with tax increases. even his own party has moved beyond him on this. to be certain, democrats have not become the party of tax relief. for example, the plan offered by the majority leader does not address the ten-year tax increase of $3.5 trillion that is set to kick in on january 1, 2013, but last night on cnn, one reporter got it about right. this is how she put it. quote -- "nobody is talking about tax increases other than barack obama." unquote. the president was on his own last night. it was a speech very much divorced from the reality of our situation. republicans are insistent the solution to a spending crisis is not giving government more money to spend. and here is the dirty secret. many members of the president's own party are not keen on tax increases either. they know that the president's
politically driven tax increases in the context of trillions in deficits and debt will do little to restore the nation's fiscal footing, and they know that more significant tax increases will hit the middle class and small business job creators very hard. but even as his troops have left him, president obama soldiers on, leading the fight for higher taxes and spreading the wealth around. the president talked last night about the need for a balanced approach. here's what he means by that. to balance the budget his way, we will have to raise taxes by roughly $2 trillion. so what does he think of the plan of the senate's distinguished majority leader? after all, the majority leader has put forward a plan that does not contain tax increases -- or at least that's the claim. presumably, the president would therefore oppose the majority leader's plan as unbalanced, but that would assume the president is not playing politics with
this debate. that would assume that he is more concerned with solving our nation's debt crisis than appealing to his base. getting his approval ratings up and positioning himself for re-election. somehow in spite of his absolute insistence on the need for tax increases and a balanced solution to the debt limit debate, the president supports the majority leader's proposal. the president likes to present himself as the only reasonable man in washington, but as he proved again with his latest politically driven inconsistency, he is as partisan as they come, and to the disappointment of his campaign advisors, it is clear that the american people are demanding a leader who will be trade with them rather than focus on election year positioning. if the president and his party came clean with the american people, this is what they would acknowledge. nondefense discretionary spending is at historic highs. the nation's biggest spending
programs are completely out of control and set for bankruptcy. over the next ten years, the president's budget would drive this country into debt by an additional $13 trillion. most importantly, they would acknowledge that the nation's problem is principally too much spending, not too little taxes. i don't envy my friends on the other side of the aisle. they are in a tough place. on the one hand, their liberal base refuses any structural reforms to the spending programs that are driving the country's debt to the brink. on the other hand, absent these structural reforms, the middle class and job creators will have to be hit with historic tax increases. obviously, they cannot be open about this second point or they risk the ire of american voters. those who represent san francisco and the upper west side might be able to go home and sell these tax increases, but for democrats responsible to entire states not just to small
liberal enclaves, such tax increases are a much tougher pitch. so what is a democrat to do? you can't propose meaningful spending reductions, but you can't support job-killing tax increases. so this is what they will do. this is what they're going to do. they choose to ignore the real problem. they offer up no plan. they refuse to present a budget for -- they have actually refused to present a budget for more than 800 days. they dodge and we've. -- and weave. one minute, they accuse republicans of trying to destroy medicare for recommending reforms. and they hope that their friends in the media ignore their failure to offer up a real solution. as you can see from this chart, the problem is spending and we
need a solution commensurate with that problem. as you can see, spending is the red line. taxes happen to be the blue line. spending as a percentage of g.d.p. is much higher than historical average. the average level of spending has been around 18% since world war ii. since president obama took office in 2008, spending has surged to over actually 25% at one point of our economy. way above the 18% to 20% norm. tax receipts have dipped, but they are expected to come back. c.b.o. estimates, however, that spending is currently set to stay at around 24%. as you can see, spending is the red line and it goes off the charts here during 2009-2010 and on into 2020. taxes have always been right where they are. they went up pretty high, came down, now they are back up.
and as you can see from the chart, president obama's 2012 budget does not help one bit in reducing this level of spending. the president's budget is not balanced by any means. again, the problem for the president is this: even while he was explaining to joe the up plumber the moral but civic imperative of spreading the wealth around, he was promising not to raise taxes on individuals making less than than $200,000 or families making less than $250,000. but if he is going to balance the budget by attempting to pay for current levels of discretionary spending that johnson only dreamed of and spending programs that are permanently in the red, he is going to have to hit the middle class hard. he is going to have to break his promise. not exactly a political winner. even as he talked about moving the democratic party to the left and abandoning the comparative moderation of the clinton administration, he remembers well the fate of walter mondale.
when accepting his party's nomination for president in san francisco in 1984, walter mondale promised americans that he was going to raise their taxes. president reagan went on to win in a 49-state landslide. president obama does not want to suffer the same fate as walter mondale, so he avoids discussion of the tax increases on the middle class that he really believes in. instead, in this debate, he is focused on a number of politically opportunistic red herrings that will have minimal impact on the nation's debt crisis. the purpose of these red herrings is to distract americans from the real driver of our deficits and debt and the real choices that democrats have to but are refusing to make. let's just look at a few of these examples. the president has been talking incessantly about the need to
tax corporate jets. well, if we were to raise the depreciable life on corporate jets from five years to seven years as the democrats propose, it would yield -- at least according to the economists, it would yield $3.1 billion -- that's with a b -- over ten years. just to be clear as we were discussing these paltry numbers, numbers which the president would have you believe are key to restoring the market's confidence in the american economy and our ability to manage our debt, the united states will run a budget deficit this year of $1.5 trillion. our national debt is is $14.3 trillion. the present budget assumes an additional $13 trillion in debt on top of that. and the president is talking about the tax treatment of corporate jets, which if he got his way would raise $3.1 billion over ten years. this is about as effective as one of my fellow utahans standing in his driveway in a canyon during a blizzard flicking a snowflake off his
shoulder and claiming that he was finished shoveling for the day. to hear the president talk, you would think that this proposal is absolutely critical to balancing our budget. well, to put it in perspective over the next ten years of debt that this nation is set to take on, it would equate to roughly 20 hours and 23 minutes of debt reduction. and let's not forget about the essential matter of cutting back the mortgage interest deduction for yachts as second homes. again, the president acts as if this is one of a handful of policies that will restore america's prosperity, but if congress enacted this change, we would cover the ten years of debt from the obama budget for all of 15 hours and 47 minutes. of course, the senate democratic talking points would not be complete without an attack on the oil companies. the president has talked about making american oil companies pay their fair share by reducing or eliminating domestic energy incentives. this proposal would raise
raise $21 billion in revenue. that would cover a whopping five days, 18 hours, 47 minutes of debt that the president is prepared to take on over the next ten years. and then there are the rich. tax the rich, make them pay their fair share. this class warfare might be appropriate in europe and countries with a feudal history, but in the united states, a nation conceived in liberty and the proposition that all men are created equal, families and entrepreneurs just don't buy it. and for good reason. taxing the rich hits job creators and determines the economic growth. as deficit reduction policy, it falls short as well. in the name of bipartisanship, i am going to use data from the tax policy center or t.p.c. to demonstrate my point. according to t.p.c. models and estimates for 2011 american households earning more than than $1 million account for 12% of the nation's pretax income,
pay 19% of federal taxes and carry an average tack rate of 29%. even more critical from my perspective, these taxpayers also account for 38% of all flow-through income. flow-through income is predominantly earnings from ownership of small businesses. so raising rates on the rich would hit squarely on those who create and expand the small businesses that need to be the engine for our nick recovery. but let's be clear about something. higher taxes on these wealthy individuals will not only have adverse economic consequences, it will not even provide the deficit and debt reduction suggested by the left. even if all the income of those earning more than $1 million a year were confiscated with a 100% rate with the unlikely assumption of no taxpayer behavioral response, for the year of confiscation, these higher taxes would yield about
$893 billion. my gosh, our deficit this year is $1.5 trillion just in one year. the most you'd get is $893 billion and that's if you're lucky. and this is a one-shot opportunity. if you confiscate this wealth, those individuals would no longer work, save, create more wealth and generate more tax revenue and confiscating all the income from those earning over $1 million did not even fix one year, not even one year of the ten years of the projected obama debt. it would cost 244 days, 16 hours and 34 minutes. all of the demagoguery on jets and yachts and oil companies yields about one week of deficit reduction from the president's ten-year debt. even throwing in a one-time confiscation of all the income for taxpayers above $1 million, you can only add 244 days. add it all up and what the president is proposing amounts to less than 1/10th of deficit
reduction from the debt president obama will add over the next ten years. last night, the president tossed some more class warfare into the mix. he mentioned taxing hedge fund managers. now, here's how he put it -- quote -- "how can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries?" the proposal he's talking about would tax carried interest as ordinary income. the joint tax committee has provided an estimate on this, and over ten years, this change in the tax code would generate another $21.4 billion. now, that's about as much as the oil company tax obama is proposing of $21.1 billion. this would cover approximately five days and 21 hours of the president's ten-year debt. now, this morning someone on television was bemoaning the fact that democrats are not going to the mat for tax
increases the way the president has. he suggested that congressional democrats do not have the courage to support tax increas increases. with all due respect, the person lacking the courage is the current occupant of the oval office. the president had an opportunity to summer. was he going to lead on the debt crisis or would it be more of the same? red herrings piled on stop of strawmen in an effort to distract the american people from his own complicit in this -- complicity is this debt crisis. yet the president chose not to own up to the american people. quarterback punted. he offered no solutions. concerns about reelection were of greater priority than the imminent downgrading of the nation's credit rating, a downgrade that will work as a tax increase on homeowners, students, and the treasury itself, which is responsible for servicing the $14.3 trillion in existing debt. unable to propose tax increases on the middle class and unable to reform entitlements due to
liberal dead-enders, he chose to offer up platitudes and class warfare that might play well with some constituencies but do nothing to address the fundamental problem this nation faces. this country cannot avoid the choices that are coming. we have to get our spending under control. that is why i supported cut, cap and balance and that i why i think s. j. res., the balanced budget amendment that i introduced along with my colleague and friend from utah, senator lee, and all 47 senate republicans is absolutely essential. it would fix this problem once and for all but the president opposes it. he talks a lot about empowering people. well, the founders of this country empowered the american people to make changes to the constitution. the constitution provides for that. why not give them opportunity to pass this amendment? remember, if the democrats don't like it, all they've got to do
is get 13 states to disagree. we have to get 38 states to ratify. why not let the people decide this? why are they so afraid to let the people decide this? let me offer an answer, because democrats are terrified that the american people would ratify it and their big-spending practices would go the way of dinosaurs. the american people are sick and tired of spending. mothers and fathers understand that the federal government is going to bankrupt their children and leave them an america that is less free and less prosperous. the american people are frustrated. they might not have the data at their fingertips but they understood what i just laid out here quite well. we are not going to solve our problems by raising taxes. increasingly, the president is an island in his call for more tax increases. republicans don't support him.
independents don't support him. now even democrats don't support him. you know, it's time to move o -- move on. we need to rein in our debt and we need to act boldly in doing so. so far, the president's failed to lead on this issue, choosing instead politically convenient talking points. but i would remind my dear friend in the white house that it's never too late to mend this problem. mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: mr. president, what is the parliamentary situation? the presiding officer: the senate is in a period of morning business in which the senators may speak for ten minutes. mr. leahy: i thank the distinguished presiding officer. mr. president, i'll be brief. i've been asked bay number of people how i feel about the efforts made to get the united states out of the quandary it now finds itself in over the debt limit. let me be very clear. i applaud president obama and majority leader reid for real leadership and persistence over many months in trying to find a bipartisan solution to the debt crisis. senator reid has put forward a solution that would end the current crisis, reduce our u unsustainable national debt.
now, this is a solution that has the potential to draw support from lawmakers of both parties who are willing to put common sense and the national interests above partisanship and ideology. those who would say rather than putting the country first, that now we've a framework for a solution. by repeatedly walking away from the table and insisting on their way or no way, those who are holding the american people and our economy hostage are playing ideological games with serious consequences for everyone else. through their tactics, i threaten great risk to the well-being of ordinary americans. the longer this goes on, the greater the danger of lasting damage below the waterline of our democracy. right now leader reid's $2.7 trillion debt-reduction package is the best chance -- really is the best chance this country has
to avoid a default and a credit rating downgrade that would damage our financial economy. it would also impose a credit hike tax on every american family. we downgrade our credit rating, we are going to be spending hundreds of billions of dollars in interest to other countries, money that they can spend on medical research and on schools and on transportation and alternative energy. they can spend it in their country. we'll be paying the bills, and all because -- all because the congress did not come together on a solution on this issue. most people looking at this wonder why haven't we moved? now, senator reid has a plan that can move.
it can say that we will spend this money, the money we have, not shipping it overseas to other countries to spend it on n the needs of our own country. it proposes a solution to end the current crisis. it accomplishes wide-ranging savings. it has enough bipartisan support to pass. it would end the roller coaster of unpredictability that shackles our economy by instead offering financial stability through 2012. social security, medicare, medicaid beneficiaries would be spared a loss of benefits. the american people would begin to recognize these savings from withdrawing from iraq and afghanistan. and essential education, job creation, housing, and environmental investments where america's economic recovery and for our strong economic future would be protected from the
slashing cuts proposed by the house republicans. the irony is, republican leaders previously have backed all the spending reductions called for in leader reid's plan. now, i don't agree -- and i suspect all of us don't agree with all aspects of this proposed solution. but we're not going to have 100 solutions on this floor. we're going to have one that we can vote on. i wish this would have included new revenue, especially by ending such costly and outdated tax benefits as those still enjoyed by the biggest oil companies to help us pay off our debt even more quickly. i'd like to help pay for the debt incurred by the inexcusable earlier decisions to enter two wars without paying for them. and i continue to believe the surcharge for the wealthiest would mean that they would pay
more of their fair share after so many years of tax cuts that have tilted far more toward the wealthiest americans rather than to the middle class. i find it interesting when i hear lectures from those who voted for an unnecessary war in iraq -- iraq, a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, a country that before we invaded it had no al qaeda -- that's plain now -- say we'll vote for this war and for the first time in our history we won't pay for it, we'll just borrow the money. and we'll cut taxes to pay for it and we'll borrow the money. look where we are now. we'll eventually owe $3.5 trillion for that war. you know, it's far easier -- and i say this to everybody, like myself, who may not see every
single thing they want here. it's far easier to walk away from the negotiating table than to make the hard choices needed on behalf of the american people. we need serious statesmanship on both sides for this to work. both sides to get a solution, both sides to do it before it's too late. the economic health of our country, the jobs of thousands of hardworking americans should not be mired in politics. it's well past the time -- and i realize there is a house faction that is driving much of the decisions there. well, it's well past time for that faction in the house of representatives to put politics aside and accept a long-term deficit-reduction plan that did not force america's most vulnerable to shoulder the burden. just as many vermont families
are forced to make difficult financial decisions, congress has to be open to considering all available options. we do this in my state of vermont without gimmicks. we don't have any constitutional amendment on balanced budgets or anything like that. we just balance the budget. in that regard, mr. president, i recall a number who said let's have a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, knowing it would be years from now when w--but we actually had a balancd budget during the clinton-gore administration. not a single republican voted for t we created a surplus, started paying down the national debt, and created 24 million new jobs. let's go back to those days. forget the sloganeering, forget the bumper sticker solutions.
if thing were that easy, it would be done by now. let's go back to what we were elected to do, what we're paid to do, also what we're expected to do. seek a solution, not a gimmick. not a deal, a solution. something that benefits all americans. mr. president, i ask -- i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: connecticut.
mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i don't need to tell anyone in this chamber -- the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. blumenthal: may i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blumenthal: thank you, mr. president. i don't need to tell anyone in this chamber that our nation is at a crossroads. we are at a crossroads. we have said for many months we would be at this point, and now we are here. for months we have said that we will need to make tough choices and difficult decisions, and now we are at that very point when
we need to make those tough choices and difficult decisions to rein in the debt and the deficit and to put our fiscal house in order, even as we raise the debt ceiling. now, this decision is difficult and tough and excruciating for us, but they are hardly different than what american families are doing all around this country and in connecticut, because i've seen them and i've heard from them, and so have you in this chamber. families that are struggling to make ends meet, stay in their homes, keep their families together, make those cuts in their spending that we are now required to do in this chamber
for the nation. and it is an historic responsibility. we cannot keep kicking the can down the road. that is the analogy that has been drawn countless times in this chamber, around the country, by the president of the united states himself, and the point is the time now is for action. not for delay, not indecision, but for real action that achieves a credible solution which will demand compromise. compromise is the essence of the american republic. it is the way our nation was founded, through compromise, people coming together, bringing their differences to the table and then resolving them. and families in connecticut and across the country make these kinds of choices every day when they buy a car or a house, when they decide where to go to
school, even sometimes when they decide whom they will marry. compromise is the essence of the american republic and the way we do business in this chamber, in this city, in state capitals around the country, in places of business and places where momentous decisions are made. and the american people expect nothing less of us than they do of themselves. there is no avoiding now these tough choices and compromises that will help us get our debt and our deficit under control in a meaningful way. the markets and the nation need a real plan. not a short-term or stopgap effort. we must demonstrate that we're committed to finding a real solution. a short-term plan would not provide the kind of certainty and reliability, certainty and
reliability that the markets are desperately seeking at this point. a short-term or stopgap solution risks many of the same dire economic consequences that would be triggered by a default itself. a financial armageddon now, a catastrophic failure to raise the debt ceiling now is exactly the same risk six months from now if we attempt to address our present issues through a short-term stopgap measure. and that financial armageddon will affect every american family, every american small business, every american worker and job seeker. it is about jobs and economic recovery, because a failure to raise the debt ceiling will
increase the cost of borrowing for every homeowner, every car buyer, every small business, every person who has a credit card or otherwise seeks capital or credit in the market. and by raising the cost of borrowing, it will simply crush our fragile economic recovery. it will be a job killer for this nation. it is time now for compromise that will avoid those dire consequences for the american people. and the reid proposal is a compromise in the best sense of that term. it's a solution that meets all the criteria that our republican friends have been insisting on for weeks. it does not include revenue
increases. it includes nussle spending cuts to -- it includes enough spending cuts to meet the amount of debt ceiling increase dollar for dollar. it includes spending cuts that have been approved by many republicans. the majority of those spending cuts have been voted for. and most important from my standpoint and from the standpoint of many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle, it does not make spending cuts on the backs of our seniors and our most vulnerable citizens. it avoids spending cuts to medicare and social security that had imperil or diminish the benefits of those programs. let me say about this compromise, the reid proposal, it is not transformational. it is not a grand bargain.
it is incremental. it achieves progress step by step by step, the way progress has been made in this great nation from its founding. step by step by step. it represents, as perhaps one of the colonists might have -- columnists might have described it. this morning in "the new york times" david brooks said there has been an outbreak of sanity. this represents an outbreak of sanity in royal waters of emotionalism, personality conflict, political acrimony. so i hope that my republican colleagues will join us in seeking and ensuring stability for the markets and for our fragile economic recovery and focusing on what really concerns the american people right now
and should concern them: job growth. it is about jobs. we should get on with that historic task of creating jobs and enabling small businesses to borrow at rates they can afford without hiking those interest rates as a result of a financial crisis that is truly avoidable. failure would be the result of our own doing and our own failure in this chamber. we need to keep our economy moving in the right direction, and i am hopeful, even confident, that we can come together with goodwill on both sides to overcome our differences and achieve that compromise that the reid proposal represents. thank you, mr. president, and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. roberts: i am assuming we are in a quorum call. the presiding officer: we are. mr. roberts: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. roberts: mr. president, i understand we are in a period of morning business. the presiding officer: we are. mr. roberts: and that i can be recognized for up to ten minutes. the presiding officer: that is correct, sir. mr. roberts: if i have something that strikes my mind that is terribly important, i might ask the distinguished president for an additional two minutes, but i will wait until that time. i thank the president. in making these remarks, i want
to emphasize that i'm not trying to be presumptuous or disrespectful in any way to the office of the presidency or to the president personally, as i want to make that very clear. it's just that i am trying to pick up an allegory to try to get my point across, and it seemed to me that this might be, might be the way to do it. we have got our national unemployment rate at its highest level all year. we have got the debt ceiling rapidly approaching the crisis that everybody is talking about, and you would think you could do everything that we could to support those industries very critical for job creation and economic development. there is one industry that i am referring to in particular, and that is general aviation. i was trying to think how could i get my point across? well, since we have speaker boehner, leader mcconnell and
the distinguished majority leader, mr. reid, senator reid, conducting the very best they can to get a solution here, perhaps the president, although his time is very valuable, could talk to somebody like me, a ranking member of a committee. very worried about what is happening with our country, we are very worried about what we can do to get this debt ceiling fixed and we get a long-term solution in regards to our entitlement reforms. and perhaps he could actually invite me down maybe later, a lot later, certainly no cameras, in regards to a little basketball game of horse because these -- everybody knows the president is a very good basketball player. as a matter of fact, an extremely good basketball player. i am not going to make that claim, but there were -- there was a day on blindside picks and
a few other things that i could do, but i would emphasize to the president bouncing the ball to him on just a bounce pass and say your ball, mr. president, the ball is in your court, and i'd like to emphasize while we were playing that basically he shouldn't -- shouldn't be more concerned with increasing the debt ceiling past the 2012 elections and working on a long-term solution for solving the crisis, that would just be a suggestion, he would probably go to the left corner and sink a three about that time, and i would want to emphasize to the president that he is singling out, he seems to be fixated on one specific industry that affects me and other specific industries as well, and i don't know how you pick and choose who should pay more taxes, who should pay more in terms of sacrifice, in terms of picking
and choosing industries. but at any rate, i would tell the president when i have the ball, i would probably be dribbling a lot -- or trying to if he wasn't playing tough defense, and i would say, you know, mr. president, since negotiations started last month on raising the debt limit, you have had on multiple occasions over and over and over again singled out the general aviation industry as an example of big business that serves only the wealthy and should contribute more to lowering the deficit. now, the only problem with this claim is it's not -- it's not real, it's not factual, it's not -- it's not correct, and so consequently basically i don't know, it's just -- i don't know whether it's in his head or maybe the writers that write that stuff for him or that valuable information for him that general aviation only serves millionaires and billionaires and then after i
shot and missed it and i would say your ball again, mr. president, i would say as he was trying to drive around me rather successfully, the truth is that these aircraft actually serve as an essential business tool. for a multitude of businesses of all shapes, all sizes, farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, business men and women to access multiple offices and facilities that are spread across this great nation. these folks are not fat cats. they are not even thin cats. and i'd like the president to understand that managers and sales teams and technical experts, those are the people we are talking about who are in that corporate aircraft to be sure, but it's general aviation serving the general public's welfare, they are often required to visit numerous offices in a short amount of time in regions of the united states that aren't served by large airports. by that time, the president has scored a couple of layups and two more jump shots and i have yet to hit a shot, but i will
persevere. and i would say to him as we were playing there on the court, mr. president, in fact, 90% of our country's airports aren't even accessible by commercial aircraft. certainly this president of the senate or the acting presiding officer knows that. and i think they really represent just those plain folks that you have been talking about, just the folks that are in the middle, just the folks that are having a tough time, just the folks that have been laid off, and then we have a paradox of enormous irony where in the stimulus bill there was a tax incentive toward general aviation that helped some of those folks get those jobs back, and it's that which you are attacking which is your own suggestion or at least that of the majority here in the senate. general aviation employs 1.2 million workers and contributes $150 billion to the u.s. economy.
that's a mouthful. by that time, the president probably stole the ball and scored another layup. playing horse, you have got five. i would probably ask him to play ten, spot me ten. just last year, general aviation i would point out to the president delivered 1,334 planes. that is a value of $7.9 billion. over half attributed to exports. that is what the president wants to achieve in his trade policy. he wants to -- his goal, i would tell him, sir, your goal is doubling u.s. exports over the next five years. you don't do it by calling general aviation fat cats and singling out that industry for political blame. let's talk about tough times and tough going. like every other business sector, general aviation has struggled during the recession. that particular time i would claim the president fouled me with a sharp elbow and i would take a free shot and i would say now, wait a minute, unfortunately, this has resulted
in layoffs among many high-skilled, high-paying jobs in this industry, and once again, mr. president, -- that's a two-shot foul, by the way, so i have a little time. i said to help offset these job losses, or i would say that, and incentivize the purchase of this aircraft by democratic members included in provision in the infamous stimulus bill to accelerate the depreciation schedules for a wide range of capital investments. now, in kansas, cessna aircraft accelerated depreciation was a key factor and cessna and its suppliers were able to keep the 1,000 jobs to just plain folks that i would tell the president that he constantly refers to in his public comments. and those folks are not fat cats. again, they are just folks, they are doing the job to produce a product in the united states that we're very proud of, and we certainly don't want them to go to mexico or go to canada.
some have already left. so it came as a pretty big shock that you, mr. president -- i'm still on my second shot on the free shot. he is now asking me to quit talking, start shooting. but i would say it comes as a pretty big shock to those workers that yourself and the democratic members in both chambers would direct an attack on this industry. and this is true that i don't know how many members of the senate, not too many. my word, i don't know how many members of the house, i have heard that corporate jet, corporate jet. it has a ring to it i guess. but at any rate, why would you repeal a tax provision that has contributeed to job creation at a time of severe economic downturn, in fact, the one that you actually suggested? but there's more, there's more, mr. president, your ball. on top of this budget negotiators are considering implementing user fees on general aviation as a way to generate revenue. we have been down that road. let me be very clear.
if user fees on general aviation are implemented, we could very well see the beginning of the end for this critically important u.s. industry and jobs for just plain folks. with all that's going on -- and i hate to remind you of this -- by the way, i just scored a hook shot, mr. president. it wasn't very pretty but it rolled in so it's about what? 8-1, something like that. at any rate, i'm coming back. when you mention corporate jets six times in two paragraphs in one speech, and that is repeated on the various pundit shows on tv over and over again as a fat cat industry, that's most unfortunate. i think we need to get serious about spending. i have thought so for some time and i think every member here does as well. we have our different ideas how to do it. but i also believe it makes
sense to consider those provisions that would actually have a measurable, a measurable impact on reducing our more than than $14 trillion national debt. i would ask as i bounce pass the ball to the president and he heads for that left-hand shot in the corner again and i'm hustling to try to keep up, i say why -- do you have any idea if you just taxed all general aviation what that would amount to? just changing these schedules, these depreciation schedules for corporate jets, i.e. general aviation would only contribute contribute $3 billion of revenue over ten years. we borrow around $40 billion every ten days. repealing this tax provision would close our national budget deficit for one hour, one hour. one hour in terms of a measurable effect? and yet we still pick on general aviation and calling them all fat cats. sadly, this isn't the first time that we have seen this happen,
that the congress of the united states, a different president has singled out general aviation. 1990 budget deal, the majority created the new luxury excise tax that applied to boats and aircraft. the tax was repealed in 1993. do you know why? know why? because as the democratic-controlled senate finance committee report explained during the recent recession, the boat aircraft industries have suffered job losses, increased notre dame. i guess those are plain folks, they qualify, not fat cats. and it said that the committee believes that it is appropriate to eliminate the burden these taxes impose interest fostering economic recovery and those related industries. that's a lot of words, especially when you're out here playing horse in weather that's pretty hot today, certainly is a lot better today so maybe it would be a better deal. i couldn't agree more with that. we have been down this road before, and i think it's unfortunate.
lastly, just before i watch him make his last shot and i go down to defeat at least on the court, i would hope i have made my argument to the president that in singling out general aviation that as fat cats is simply not accurate, it's class warfare, it's a little tough. maybe i wouldn't say that on the court. maybe just sort of nudge him a little bit when i got underneath the bucket. at any rate, it's going to take courage to put this country's fiscal back in order, there is no question about that, but it's absolutely essential for us to do it in a responsible manner and not scapegoat, not by singling out important sectors of industry that have long played a viable role in the economic development of both my home state of kansas and our country as a whole. so i would simply say, your ball, your game, mr. president, but let's don't single out general aviation anymore. it might have been the case if he was on a corporate jet with kobe bryant or somebody, i don't know, maybe a hollywood actor or
maybe going to a fund-raiser or something like that. maybe he got that in his head, that everybody that has a corporate jet -- ie., general aviation -- as opposed to going from kansas to north dakota to check on some farm ground, that that is the case. i hope that that is not the case anymore. so that's the end of the ball game but it is not the end of the debate, but i hope we have a debate without singling out an industry that is unfair and not accurate. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: mr. president, i ask that further proceedings of the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kerry: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent i be permitted to proceed as if in morning business for about 15 minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kerry: mr. president, this
is a dangerous time for our country and what amazes me for the time that i've been here and privileged to serve the citizens of massachusetts for 27 years now is that never have i seen a moment where the consequences of inaction can have as potentially a damaging effect on our country as the consequences may if we are downgraded in our debt. just downgraded, not even defaulting. and yet some of our colleagues in the united states congress, particularly on the other side of the aisle in the house, are,
despite all the evidence, all of the judgments made by knowledgeable people, by economists, by business people, by outside observers about the danger and inadequacy of what they're proposing, despite that they're insisting not on a matter of common sense or as a matter of logical economic policy but insisting as a matter of politics and ideology on holding the entire economy of our country hostage and be damned with the risks. notwithstanding what that may mean for 401(k)'s for families, what that may mean for investments that are on the brink today because of the fragility of the economy, notwithstanding any of the
advice of people who deal with money on a daily basis in terms of investments, these people, many of them who've never served in public life in their lives, never been part of a compromise but have come here with one ideological purpose, these people are putting the entire nation at risk. there are a lot of people here, particularly here in the senate on the other side of the aisle, who know this is dangerous and who know the risks we're taking and who know that there are better alternatives, but because of the politics of the situati situation, they're being locked in, not allowed to stand up and exercise or at least unwilling at this point to stand up and exercise their judgment and, frankly, their responsibility as sworn to uphold the constitution
of the united states of america to come here and do the business of our country. the deadline for default may be just a week away but no one should have any illusion that what is happening right now today is already hurting the economy of our country. and it's already hurting our country. this is embarrassing for the nation. it's embarrassing for the united states of america to be having such a dysfunctional display for everybody in the world to see that we, who run around the world promoting democracy, are unable to make our own democracy work right here at home. the fact is, all you have to do is read today's article in "the boston globe" with the headline, "uncertainty has massachusetts firms wary of hiring." that's what's happening right now. this is already having a negative impact. maybe that's what some of the people on the other side of the aisle in the house want.
maybe they want the economy to come down so they can win politically and point to the president and says, "oh, it's his fault we don't have the jobs," even though they're weakening the economy with their obstinacy and with their ideological rigidity. today's article says, "still cautious from the last recessi recession, many business owners worry that government leaders will be unable to reach an agreement while others are concerned about exactly the agreement, while any agreement will invariably include spending cuts and weaken an already lackluster recovery." mad, this is no way to -- madam president, this is no way to provide economic stewardship and, most importantly, it's no way to run a government. there are countless snulingses that rely on the united states for us to go out and help other
nations to be able to recover economically. i met yesterday with the finance minister and deputy prime minister of greece. greece is taking enormous steps right now to try to bring its debt down, and all of the euro zone has joined in that effort of the and italy and spain are likewise at risk in their economies. but the i.m.f. is a critical component of that economy and the united states is a critical component of the i.m.f. efforts and we have a significant amount of our capital at risk in the i.m.f., as so what happens there is important to what happens here. but this place is not behaving like there's no interconnectedness. let me tell you what i hear from a lot of smart people, smarter than i am about the economics, but i listen to them and i can
tell they're deadly sear qulus they say that we're playing with fire with respect to the greek recovery and with respect to italy and spain and the rest of europe. and if they start to go down, then you have a caticaid and it begins to have a greater impact on the united states of america. that's what's at risk in this dangerous game of political chicken that is being played by people of such ideological rigidity that they're unwilling to even compromise. i heard an interview yesterday with one senator and a television commentator of one of the cable shows who asked him repeatedly, well, what are you willing to compromise on? and in the end it became clear that he wasn't willing to compromise on the fundamental notions of how you arrive at an agreement here. we need to reach out across the aisle, both of us, democrat, republican, reach out across the aisle and come together on a
deal, on a solution, a solution to a critical problem that challenges all of us where there is a solution staring us in the face. and we need to do that before we, as a result of the inability of people to make that compromise, before those who take that position of ideological rigidity, before that do greater harm to our economy and to our country's reputation. we need to put an end to the time clocks that are running out, how long it is before a default, which sends an enormous message of uncertainty and of incompetence, of dysfunctional politics on a daily basis. every tick of that clock drums into people the inadequacy of what is happening here right n now, and back in 1983 president
ronald reagan, who many of the people who are taking this position of complete object city nancy -- o bst inancy, whom many of them revere, they ought to listen to what he said. he wrote "the denigration of the full faith and credit of the united states would have substantial effects on the united states markets and vaflt dollar on the engs change markets. the nation can ill-afford to allow such a result." now almost 30 years later, some house republicans have absolutely turned their backs on the legacy of ronald reagan. instead, they continue to play their cynical game of chicken with the president, with the congress, with the american people, with our economy, with our reputation, with our future by refusing to negotiate a clearly achievable, clearly definable compromise agreement that would extend the debt limit, something that happened 17 times under ronald reagan.
their negotiating strategy? don't negotiate. do what we say, no matter what the danger or how ill-thought-out the consequences may be. david stockman, the former office and management o.m.b. director under president reagan said the following about the house republican budget. he said, "i think the biggest problem is revenues. it's simply unreal list stk to say that raising revenue isn't part of the solution. it's a measure of how far off the deep end republicans have gone with this religious catechism about taxes. in taking this extreme approach, the house republicans have also made a dirty word out of the basic tenet of american democracy:compromise. i mean, do they know nothing about history? have they forgotten about the
missouri compromise? have they forgotten about countless great compromises that brought people together to pass some of the great efforts of our nation with respect to the social structure of our country? the house republican party has taken this approach even though they know and agree with what ronald reagan said 30 years ago and they know it's true today. now, experts are telling us that even a short-term crisis could lead to a permanent downgrading or stain, if you will, on the treasuries of our country. it could prove particularly damaging to the willingness of foreign investors to buy treasuries. if foreign investors start to should i away from treasuries -- if foreign investo investor stay away from treasuries --
you can never ghat liquidity premium back if you create a precedent. that's the thing that would be irreparable. the end result of such a scenario: higher interest rates in the united states. madam president, i just met a few moments ago with a businessman who is engaged in major investments here in this country and elsewhere on an international basis who told me -- reinforced to me the danger of what we are facing right now in just a downgrade. what he said to me is that nobody can tell you what the real impact of that downgrade is going to be. what happens to valuationed all the way down the economic -- what happens to value indications wall the way down the economic food chain? what happens to judgment judgmet
interest? what happens to the judgments about the auctions and the next market and so forth? nobody knows. he can't tell me, and he does this for a living and has very successfully for a lifetime. and that's what they're worried about. there is a moment here. nobody knows exactly when it is. but there is a moment here when, as you get close enough and the dysfunctionality becomes the overwhelming dominating feature of this effort, that someone is going to cut and say, okay, time to downgrade. and then what happens? what kind of downward spiral throws out of that? i don't know, but i know that we shouldn't be pushing it to the limit and taking that risk. why are people taking that risk? why are people, despite all the commentary that says we ought to be reaching across the aisle, we ought to sit down, the way we used to around here, why are they doing this?
i'll tell you why. because they want only one way of approaching this solution: their way. because they want to so dramatically cut federal spending and cut entitlements without increasing revenues at all. no matter how successful people have been at the upper end of our comirks no matter how much money people have made, they say, you can't even ask a billionaire for $100. you can't even ask a billionaire for $500. nothing. nada. no. that's it. and that's the reason they're willing to take the country to the brink. they know they don't have enough votes to even pass the budget that they're screaming about still, but they're not running around trying to find the alternative. they're going to push it anyway, have a vote on it anyway, send a
dramatic, stupid message of incompetence to the world and drag the united states of america down with it. it's stunning what a group of extremists can do who are trying to get their unrealistic and impossible budget passed, which even a lot of republicans know they're not going to vote for. the boehner plan would require draconian entitlement policy changes. to meet the $1.8 trillion in cuts over the next decade without any increase in revenues, policy-makers would be forced to cut social security, end medicare benefits, and that's not a scare tactics, that is an absolute reality of what would have to happen if you proceed to do those cuts the way they're structuring them. and you would eviscerate the safety net for low-income children, for fairnt parents for citizens and people with disabilities. one of the worst and most
disturbing components of this plan, of the boehner plan -- it's incomprehensible to me -- they want to do this whole thing all over again in six months. there's no economic reason that you have to do it again in six months. because they purposefully left out the money that could come from reducing our engagement in the wars in iraq and afghanistan, which is going to come. they purposel purposely left thy out so it wouldn't show the amount of savings that could get you through next november. and the reason they purposefully left this out is so that they can come back and do this same exercise again next february and make all of the discussion in america about debt, deficit when we're perfectly freepped have a serious discussion not about -- perfectly prepared to have a
serious discussion about solving it. you don't need a constitutional amendment to do our duty. you don't need a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. and i know what i'm talking about on that because i was here when we balanced the budget in the 1990's without a constitutional amendment. we balanced the budget five times since world war i i and we've done it each time without a constitutional amendment. so let's not have this phony structured setup that's pure politics. i am a sure they're raising a lot of money from their base on it every single day, but that's not what this ought to be about. this ought to be about solving the economic problems of our country. a short-term plan is not necessary and it is, most importantly, not wise, because if we go through this exercise again in six months in the same way that we've gone through it in the last few months, we're going to drive this economy
right down and down. now maybe that's what they want. so they can then blame president obama and turn around and blame the democrats who are responsible here in the senate, because there's no other rationale for wanting to come back and do this in six months. when we can do this with the joint committees that are in both the boehner plan and in senator reid's plan. we have the ability to set up a structure like the brac closer commissions, where we have to vote, where we're forced to do this on an accelerated basis, where we tie ourselves into a process that requires the united states senate to do its duty and the congress to do its duty. we can lock that in right now. we're not kicking anything down the road if we do that and require us not to have a balanced budget amendment that goes out all across the country for stats to have to ratify.
but, rather, do the job we were sent here to do and do it in the next few months. nays what we could be doing -- that's what we could be doing. if we don't do that then the downgrade that might take place swrr? the next few days -- somewhere in the next few days could drive up interest rates and that'll have naggive effect on the economy. a student with a student loan will feel that impact. somebody with a car loan will feel that impact. anybody with a credit card intg to feel that impact. people with mortgages will feel that impact. and that will mean more money out of pocket to make up for the dereliction of duty of the united states congress. beaver madamadam president, thee completely dangerous and unchartered waters that we're sailinsailing into. at a time wheany downgrade coule
disastrous effects for our financial system in tesms those other countries which i have already talked about and i think it is an unacceptable risk and it should require us to find the compromise and find it now. i might add that the boehner plan is not even supported on wall street. let me quote christine cooper, who is the head of the u.s. dollar derivatives trading in new york at jeffries and company. he said "from the market's point of view, a two-stage plan is a nonstarter because we know it's amateur hour on capitol hill, and we don't want to be painted into this corner again." he went on to say "there is significant risk of a downgrade with a deal that ties further cuts to another vote only a few months down the road, given the significant resistance to do the right thing now."
i think that -- frankly, i think that's logical. every american can understand that. if you've got some money to invest and you're sitting there watching what's happening here right now, and then you learn that our way of dealing with it is going to be to have another vote in six months for the same reason, lift the debt ceiling, when everybody knows we don't have to do that, would you say, oh, that's a really good, clear climate for investment. let's go put our money into whatever it is out there because we know congress is going to do the right thing. no. no way, madam president. everybody knows that. the fact is that the president has said he's going to veto the speaker's plan. so, senators, we know he's going to veto it. we know it's a bad plan, and we ought to stop discussing proposals that are going to go
nowhere and get the job done for something that can bring everybody together. now, in an effort to forge a bipartisan compromise, senator reid has reached way beyond what many members of our caucus really wanted to do or think is the appropriate balance here, but we're acting responsibly in order to try to get the job done. and so, we are willing to extend the debt ceiling through 2012 without revenues at this time, with the understanding that we will have the ability to be able to come back to the floor with the process of a joint committee, providing it's tied to a very clear schedule with very clear requirements about no filibusters, with very clear requirements about amendments and voting. madam president, i'd ask unanimous consent that i just be able to wrap up fairly quickly. the presiding officer: without
objection. mr. kerry: madam president, the spending cuts that are in senator reid's proposal are only those that republicans have previously agreed to. so, no revenues, cuts, $2.-something trillion dollars. we have cuts in there republicans have already agreed to and again a fixed period of time. i think that proposal gives our economy the certainty that it needs in order to create jobs now, not six months from now. not maybe some time next year. everybody understands how anemic america's job creation is now. the last thing the job market needs is this kind of brinksmanship, gamesmanship and cynical toefrt hold the
entire -- effort to hold the entire economy of our economy hostage when better proposals are on the table in front of us, which everybody can understand. the majority leader's proposal includes the following -- includes the capacity for that joint kph-s to include -- joint committee to include recommendations and legislative language on tax reform. we all know we need tax reform. and i believe that the senate and the house ought to do their job, both of us. and what senator reid's plan does is actually calls on the senate to live up to its ultimate responsibility. the speaker's plan has no such language, nothing that requires that kind of participation. the deficit commission was chaired by former republican senator alan simpson. all of that work is being ignored right now. and the so-called gang of six here did an outstanding job, in my judgment, of helping to put together a bipartisan plan which
actually included revenue and, i think, some 20-some republican senators were prepared to support a thoughtful, balanced plan that had both revenues as well as cuts. so we can find common ground here. we need to find that common ground here. over the last year we've seen a number of bipartisan plans put forward on the debt limit. i think that the effort of the gang of six really exemplified the best tradition of the senate, where a group of members reach across the aisle and worked with each other to tackle the tough issues. that's how we got a budget deal in 1990. that's how we got a budget deal in 1997. we have done this before, and we did it growing our economy, creating 23 million new jobs, creating a surplus of $5.6
trillion. and had we stayed on that course, we would next year be paying down the debt of our nation completely for the first time since andrew jackson was president of the united states. everybody here knows why we went off track. i don't need to go through that again now. but i think that we will not be able to resolve this current impasse until colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and especially in the house, where there seems to be the greatest ideological resistance to common sense right now, decide to put aside that ideology and decide what is best for the united states of america. we can't be responsible if we don't get serious first. far too much is at stake for the senate to do anything less than the united states senate was intended to do at moments like this. we are called the world's greatest deliberative body. there aren't many americans who would look at us right now and give us that appropriate
moniker. we have to earn it. and i think in the next hours we can do that, madam president. and i thank the chair and i thank my colleagues for their forebearance. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: do you know how much time i have allotted? the presiding officer: the senate is in morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. mr. corker: thank you, ma'am. i doubt i'll do this but if i get up to eight minutes or so, please let me know so i know i'll have two left. madam president, the last time i was on the floor was july 14, and i was very concerned, maybe upset about the fact that it appeared that where we are on this debt ceiling discussion was looking for a political way for everybody to raise the debt ceiling without anybody taking ownership. and obviously that wasn't what i
came to the senate to do, and i came down and had choice words for both sides of the aisle in that regard. i actually come here today with a glimmer of hope. the reason i say that, to my knowledge, in this debt ceiling debate, we may be, i think this is the first time that actually legislation has been offered from both sides of the aisle to look at spending reductions over the course of this next year. to me, that is progress. i think that we ought to focus on the fact that finally here in this body we're on the right subject. we've sort of wandered around in the wilderness here for several weeks as this debt ceiling was coming up and focused on many things that were not going to solve the problem, and then a couple of weeks ago we focused on a way to try to figure out a
way to usurp, get rid of our responsibilities in dealing with this. i'm kind of uplifted because, as was mentioned, a democratic senator has a proposal, a republican house member has a proposal, and now finally we're on the topic that matters. and that is we have proposals before us that are beginning to look at what we might do to look at spending reductions. i mean, the fact is the reason this debt ceiling debate is what it is is all of us are concerned about future deficits. all of us are concerned about where our country is going. all of us are concerned about the fact that if we don't deal with this issue responsibly, we're going to end up with a downgrade in our debt regardless. i mean, even if we make it, if we had a clean debt ceiling vote, which obviously is not going to occur now, if you had a clean debt ceiling vote, we'd be right back at the table trying to figure out a way to keep from
having a downgrade. so for what it's worth, i'm choosing today to come to the floor and to be slightly optimistic because both sides of the aisle are beginning to look at ways of reducing that issue. the rating agencies and actually, you know, we don't put a lot of faith in them, i know, but smart people that actually buy treasuries have said the order of magnitude that we need to deal with as it relates to deficit spending over the next short period of time is a minimum of $4 trillion. and that $4 trillion has to be real, and that $4 trillion needs to be accompanied by entitlement reforms. now, madam president, what i would say is that right now i don't think there's any proposal that's being discussed that is strong enough. and i don't say that to knock any of the authors. there's nothing out there that i'm aware of that's being discussed by the media or being
discussed in either chamber that really deals with this issue. most of us have taken a position that we want to use the debt ceiling vote to force dramatic reductions in deficits, dramatic reductions in spending. and fortunately, we've gotten to that place finally. we just have gotten there in the last 24 hours. so this is my hope, madam president. we know that none of the proposals that are out there now are strong enough, none of the proposals that are out there -- i'm talking about in legislative language. there are a lot of people working in other ways to try to come up with a solution. but there's no legislative language out there yet that actually forces us to do the things we need to do to achieve not being downgraded, if you will, after this debt ceiling vote occurs. and so what i would say is, i know it appears we're going to be voting on a proposal that the
majority leader has offered. it's very apparent to me that it's not going to pass. i know there are some activities that might be taking place in the house over the next 24 hours. but at least we have both sides of the aisle talking about the right topic finally. it's taken us awhile tpo get here. -- awhile to get here. and i would urge that we sit down, figure out a way to make the proposals that are being discussed real, make sure they don't have gimmicks and they force us to do those things that we need to do to make sure that we don't just kick the can down the road, pass something that looks like we've actually taken action, but to pass something instead that actually will address the issues that we have before us. so, madam president, again, i've got a glimmer of hope. both sides of the aisle offered proposals.
no doubt in both cases not near strong enough, but both sides have offered proposals that look at reducing the deficits over the next year or so. so i would urge people to sit down like members have done recently on other proposals, let's sit down and figure out a way to make some proposals strong enough that we know that not only have we moved past this debt ceiling vote, but we've also put in place those actions that will cause us to make it through this entire next year in a way that we know we're not going to be downgraded by the kreld rating age -- by the credit rating agencies and have other issues. there's not a proposal before us today that does it, but both sides of the aisle are talking about proposals. that, to me, is a sign for a degree of optimism. if we need to extend the debt ceiling issue for a week while
we work out the details or whatever, let's do it. but let's don't let this opportunity where we finally have both sides of the aisle talking about the right subject, let's don't let this opportunity go by. let's solve this problem while the focus is on it. and, madam president, i thank you for allowing me to come to the floor. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask morning business be extended until 5:00, i be recognized at 5:00, and following the statement -- senator corker are you finished? that senator sessions be recognized for ten minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i thank the majority leader and appreciate his courtesy as always on so many of the issues that come before the senate. i would just like to say a
couple of things. one is fundamental, and that is crisis we face -- and i think my senator, colleague from tennessee would agree -- is not the debt limit. it's the debt. it's the surging debt. and the debt limit is congress's power, and it says to the administration, you can't raise, you can't borrow any more money. we only authorize so much money to be borrowed. like a 102-mark on your thermometer, it's not the thermometer that's the problem, it's the underlying fever that the thermometer indicates. so breaching the debt limit so soon after we raised it is an indication that we have something unhealthy in our system that needs to be dealt with. senator reid has got very, very difficult challenges before him.
it is not easy, but as i like to remind him, he asked for the job and hopefully he can make progress at this point in time. but to raise the debt ceiling, the majority leader knows a couple of things. he knows one that the republican congress and the american people want to see changes in our spending. it's on a reckless path. we cannot continue on this path, and so the idea is shouldn't we change what we are doing that's put us in a situation in which 40 cents of every dollar we spend today is borrowed. this year we will pay pay $240 billion in interest on our national debt. under the budget that the
president submitted to us that was voted down, i will acknowledge 97-0 in the senate, but it indicates a death path that we're on. it would cause in the tenth year interest to be paid in one year of $940 billion. a stunning figure. the federal road program is about 40. the federal education is about 100. we would be curnlg surging from 240 to 940 just in interest on this surging debt, according to the congressional budget office, our experts. i would note also that despite the debts that we have been running up, president bush's last year was an extraordinary deficit, $450 billion. president obama's deficits have been 1,300, 200 billion, 1,300,000,000,000. it's expected to be
1.5 trillion, 1,500,000,000,000,000. and in the first two years of president obama's administration, his nondefense discretionary spending surged 24%. and this does not count the stimulus almost $900 billion that we surged out the door that was supposed to stimulate the economy. so speaker boehner, and i think with the support of the american people, speaker boehner has said well, we could do a fairly large increase in our debt ceiling to allow the country to continue to borrow or we could do a short one but we in the house and the republican house believe we have got to confront our problems so i would propose and he has stated that the house would vote to raise the debt ceiling but only to the extent to which spending has been reduced an
equal amount. so if you reduce spending enough over ten years, you get an immediate increase in the debt ceiling of an equal amount now. if you reduce spending over ten years a larger amount, well, you could increase the debt limit a larger amount. and it's become a vehicle, an opportunity for the american people to understand how we are surging out of control, spiraling out of control and how it is that congress has got to figure out a way to rein this in. it's just unsustainable the path that we are on. so there is $1 per -- $1 increase in debt ceiling per $1 reduction in spending kind of caught on. people seem to be going along with that, seem to be fairly
reasonable. and senator reid claims that the debt ceiling that he's got a plan that would reduce spending spending $2.7 trillion over ten years, and that this would allow him to raise the debt ceiling about that amount and that this would allow us to in effect raise it enough that we wouldn't have to talk about this again for almost two years, about 22 months. well, okay. that sort of seemed to meet what speaker boehner had suggested, but i'm the ranking member of the budget committee and i have been a real critic of what's been going on. i have been predicting we were going to end up at the last minute, a bill was going to be thrown on the floor and i was
concerned it was going to be filled with gimmicks, it wasn't going to be honest, and we were going to be told if we don't pass it, the republic is going to fall, and no matter what's in it, we have got to pass it and don't worry about it, just trust us on these numbers. unfortunately, that's where we're getting. senator reid in his his $2.7 trillion in claimed deficit reduction, about about $1.2 trillion of that is savings from the war in iraq and afghanistan. well, that's not ever been projected to stay at the current level of $158 billion a year for ten years. that's not -- that's an extra spending item. speaker boehner when he proposes a proposal that would reduce
spending for a shorter term, he doesn't count savings from the declining war expenditure because that's not base line expenditure. and we have never extended and planned to do that. we never planned to spend spend $158 billion a year in the next ten years. it is inevitably going to drop. some say it could go to zero, some say to 50, saving saving $100 billion or a little more a year for the next decade. so we calculate that senator reid and the budget committee staff, the republican staff calculates that this is over over $1 trillion in inaccurate estimations of spending reductions. it just is. it should not be counted. speaker boehner doesn't count it in his numbers. he also claims, senator reid
does, $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions from spending caps. by capping discretionary spending, that this would save save $1.2 trillion. well, those caps are counted from a base line that ignores the savings that were enacted in the full year c.r. that we did the year we were in. so what happens was we had a higher level of spending, there was an election last fall, a new republican house was elected, huge numbers of people who were elected said we have got to do something about spending, and so we had a fuss over what our spending levels should be this year because we were operating not under authorization of appropriation bills but a continuing resolution, and that number was reduced. so the spending level for this year is not -- now is not the
same as it was when the year began. so the current level of spending is a number we ought to be talking about when we say we're going to save money, correct? it shouldn't be the number that was higher but has been abandoned and been reduced. so that reduces the amount of legitimate claims and discretionary savings to less than $800 billion or -- instead of there or so, and then he claims $100 billion in mandatory savings, but it's likely that those from our staff looking at them, that it would amount to no more than $60 billion. so the bottom line is that we have looked at this a lot of different ways. i believe the numbers that i am going to repeat to you today will be sustained in any
competitive argument about it. i believe these are honest and true numbers. the bottom line is that the total real savings that's proposed by the reid plan is not not $2.7 trillion but but $1 trillion. and if you do $1 trillion in savings and you raise the debt limit by $1 trillion, then that would extend to six, eight months or so into early next year, which is, i suggest, where we ought to be because this amount of savings, $1 trillion, is nowhere near what we need to do to get off the debt course we're on. as senator corker indicated, most of the financial experts tell us we need at least least $4 trillion in savings, not $1 trillion. and so if we're just going to get one so we can vote in this
crisis period to raise the debt limit before august 2 so the checks and everybody can be paid and the government can operate, operate, -- and i hope we can do that. we need to do that. but if all we're going to get is is $1 trillion, this is just an interim step. this is not a real fix at all, but it's an interim step, and if so, we need to be right back on this issue soon, and that gives us an opportunity to do so early next year or late this year. because we have not solved the problem. $1 trillion is not enough. $4 trillion is not enough. depending on how you calculate the debt that's been projected to accrue over the next ten years, it's somewhere between between $9 trillion and $13 trillion. so $1 trillion is not going to do anything to change the
disastrous debt course we are on. now, by the way, the president -- i just want to say this because he was pretty tough last night, blaming republicans for all kinds of problems. let me just say, the republican house passed and i voted for in the senate a budget for ten years that changes the debt course of this republic. it puts us on a sound financial path. it reduced spending by as much as $6 trillion, $5 trillion over ten years. it even reduced taxes that create more economic growth and make us more competitive in the world marketplace. it was a thoughtful, long-term, serious budget that would do
real positive things for america. the senate has not passed a budget, not had one marked up in the budget committee. the leadership here in the senate refused to allow it to happen. senator reid said it would be foolish to pass a budget. we have gone now over two years without a budget. it's unthinkable in the debt course that we are on how disastrous it is, how unsustainable it is, how unlike anything that's ever happened in our history have this kind of debt path and we don't have a budget. so the president said, you know, a few weeks ago i have got a plan that cuts $3 trillion. well, is it like senator reid's reid's $2.7 trillion plan? it was never made public. it was never spelled out. yet he had a $3 trillion plan
that cut spending, let's see it. maybe we can extend the debt limit more if he's going to cut cut $3 trillion in honest numbers. so if he has those numbers as he said he has, in between attacking republicans for causing all the problems, let's see it. maybe that would be a basis for something. but i suspect it's no more accurate than this plan because when the president proposed his budget, as the law required him to do early in the year, he said my budget calls on us as americans to live within our means and to not increase the debt. when, according to the congressional budget office, the lowest single budget deficit that would occur on his ten-year
budget would be $750 billion. nowhere close to a balanced budget. and in the outer years, that deficit would be going up. so i would just challenge the president if he has got a a $3 trillion plan, let's see it. now, the kind of -- some people say we need to have this long a period of time, we can't afford to have a short period of time. this is somehow a wrong thing to do and so forth, and i just would want to point out to my colleagues that it's not unusual at all. a $2.7 trillion increase in the debt, if that were to occur, would be very high. it would be a 19% increase in the current debt limit.
putting the debt limit 50% higher than when president obama took office. it would be the largest debt increase in history, the fourth debt limit increase during president obama's tenure in office, the fourth time it's been raised. so this is not unusual. so i warn from the beginning that if we skirted the legislative process in favor of closed door white house meetings and so forth, we would find ourselves in the 11th hour with gimmick-filled legislation being rushed through a panic-driven senate. this is not responsible governance from our leadership here in the senate. as i feared and as i've just described, the majority leader's bill does not achieve close to the promised savings that he says it would. far from the $2.7 trillion in cuts claimed, the true spending cuts in the proposal are closer
to $1 trillion over ten years, less than half of what was advertised, while he's asking for a nearly $3 trillion increase in the debt limit. spending cuts next year would be only $3 billion less than the enacted amount for 2011. this falls short of the idea that a dollar in cuts should accompany a dollar in debt limit increase. senator reid's proposal is structured in a way that is clearly designed to further the -- further degrade and undermine the budgetary process of the united states senate and it allows the majority not to have to come forward and produce a budget plan. so given the late hour, rather than rush through a poorly vetted piece of legislation to provide the president the largest debt ceiling increase in
history, we should pursue a more responsible approach, a short-term extension with real cuts through the immediate time period the extension covers, not ten years down the road, then using the extra time that we have congress should pursue a binding framework like the cut, cap and balance plan to bring these gimmicks to an end and to alter our debt course. we should try the one thing we've refused to do from the beginning: open hearings, regular order, and real legislative process and public participation. madam president, i thank the chair and would yield the floor. and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: